Staying awake.One of my teachers is an incredibly boring lecturer, and I have a sleeping problem which makes me have a very hard time falling asleep at night. Because my teacher is so boring, and I...

Staying awake.

One of my teachers is an incredibly boring lecturer, and I have a sleeping problem which makes me have a very hard time falling asleep at night. Because my teacher is so boring, and I have a very hard time staying awake in class, and I usually end up falling asleep in class anyways which causes me to miss the lesson, which is why I’m failing my class. How can I stay awake in a non-medicated way in his class? I have already seen several doctors, and they say the problem is in my head.

Asked on by ninja1

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archteacher's profile pic

archteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

If your teacher allows it, I would recommend that you bring a snack to class.  Make sure it is not disruptive, though!  No crinkly wrappers, etc.  Make sure that you are dressing in "real clothes".  No sweatpants, pajamas, slippers, or even UGG type shoes.  I would even avoid sneakers.  You want to send every possible "wake up" signal possible to your body.  Also, dress on the cool side for your classroom.  You don't want to freeze, but you will find it harder to stay awake if you are warm.

scarletpimpernel's profile pic

scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

In addition to the other posts, I would also suggest asking your teacher if you can record him or her.  Some schools and teachers allow this.  I used to take a small recorder into some college classes because the professors progressed so rapidly through notes, that I needed to check after class to see what I missed writing down.  This would not be to encourage sleeping through class, but if you told your teacher that you are having problems sleeping at night and are trying to come up with ways to stay awake, this might be a solution in the meantime.

booksnmore's profile pic

booksnmore | College Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

The posters have great ideas. Another thing I would do is drink a lot of water during class. Seriously. The water will have a positive impact on your brain. The act of drinking water will help you to focus on something outside yourself. And if you happen to get a full bladder, that might help to keep you awake as well. Have you ever heard of "Brain Gym?" There is a very simple exercise called "PACE." You can watch examples of it on YouTube. PACE is designed to prepare the brain for new learning. It also works wonderfully to wake the body up for learning. You might try that before class.

And I hope you can find a solution to your sleep problem with a doctor's help!

ask996's profile pic

ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

Lrwilliams makes a good point. The more active you are in class the more interesting it will become. Another strategy you might try is to sit on the front row (if allowed) this way you will be able to receive the most benefit from whatever dynamics the instructor has. Breathing deeply--in through your nose an out through your mouth several times will deliver lots of oxygen rich blood to your brain making you more alert. Finally, and I haven't tried this, someone has suggested sucking on hard candy during class. Having this candy as a focal point, moving it around, and etc. is supposed to keep you more alert. As I was told, "Your body won't want to fall asleep with something in its mouth."

bullgatortail's profile pic

bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Sadly, many teachers could use a lesson in theatrics when it comes to lecturing. However, this will probably not be the last teacher you find "boring." If you plan to attend college, lectures will continue to be a part of life. I didn't begin drinking coffee until I was 30, but I find it keeps me active and awake when needed. Try a cup before class and try to find a happy medium with your lecturer. I agree with Post #3--you need to put forth extra effort to overcome this sleeping problem you seem to have. Interesting that you can sleep in class but not at night--perhaps a nap here and there outside school will also help.

lrwilliams's profile pic

lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

You might try being an active participant in the class. Hopefully your teacher encourages or allows discussion during the lecture part of the class. You could ask questions that are on topic or add to the discussions from your own knowledge. If your teacher does not allow for input you might try different note taking techniques that would help you stay more interested.

lynn30k's profile pic

lynn30k | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

You might want to ask your teacher if you can stand up somewhere in the room. It is no secret to your teacher that you are having this problem, and I'm sure s/he would much rather you stay awake. Just be careful how you phrase your request; "I'm really exhausted by the time I get to this class" will sound much better than "I am bored"  ;) If your teacher doesn't go for this, try moving as much as possible without bothering the other students. Take notes, and ask yourself questions to make yourself pay attention. Even if it is not a time when you have to be taking notes, it might help.

lchunt's profile pic

lchunt | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

Actively taking notes, even if the subject matter is boring, helps me to stay awake.

When I find myself falling asleep, I often chew gum to stay alert.

Alternatively, I have attended several corporate meetings where they pass out things like Plah-Doh to keep your hands busy while listening.  Apparently studies have shown that you're a better listener when you have something else to do with your hands while listening.

mlocke72's profile pic

mlocke72 | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Most doctors are not specialists in sleep medicine so you may want to ask for a referral for a sleep study. For people who suffer from insomnia - problems falling asleep or staying asleep this can be really helpful. You go to the center and actually sleep there while they monitor you to see what is going on.

As far as the boring lecturer, we've all been there. Everyone above has given good advice - keep cool, move as much as possible, eat/chew gum, and my personal favorite was taking notes or even writing notes or letters to friends if you can do 2 things at once. Anything to keep your brain stimulated and focused. But the most important thing is to figure out why you can't fall asleep. Saying it's "in your head" is not an acceptable response from a doctor. If you are under a lot of stress then you may want to consider a therapist and there are many who specialize in sleep disorders too. Good Luck!

krishna-agrawala's profile pic

krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

Your problem has two components. One is difficulty in sleeping at night, and the second is resultant tendency to fall asleep during the day. Therefore part of the solution may be in trying to get a good sleep at night, rather than trying to keep awake at night. Your body needs some minimum amount of sleep per day, and unless you get that much sleep, this problem of tendency to fall asleep during the day will persist in some form or the other.

When your doctors say "the problem is in your head" do they refer to sleeplessness at night or sleepiness during the day. If they are referring to sleepiness during the day, you can try getting their advice for getting good sleep at night.

I also have a tendency of not getting sleep. One of the ways in which I tackled this problem when I was a student was to not force myself to sleep at night, but to try keeping awake studying. Many time the boredom of studies induced sleep. Simultaneously, I made some progress in my studies.

Another technique which I still use is to lie on my back with my hands and legs straight, and remain in this position without moving. It sounds simple but, when you try it, you will find it is very difficult to remain in one position like this for event five minutes. But if you persist, it does help you sleep. Further, this way you get a sound and refreshing sleep.

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