Vacation is over, and in many cases, with back to school comes very little sleep. As awful as not sleeping much is, a lot of teenagers seem to have a problem with it. Their fatigue spills over into the next day, and they struggle to stay awake in class. How does one prevent missing an important class because they’re falling asleep?

Now, in absolutely no way do I condone pulling all nighters, or putting anything else ahead of your personal health. Sleep deprivation has multiple detrimental effects on all aspects of your health, both mental and physical. But, as a student, I know such things are almost inevitable.

Our brains produce melatonin, the sleep hormone, when it gets dark. This is why we’re predisposed to sleeping at night, rather than during the day. If you’re trying to stay awake, bright light will slow down the production of melatonin in your brain. Get some sunshine, fill your workspace with bright lamps, etc.


Coffee is not as effective as you may think, and neither is sugar. Chugging a pot of coffee will allow you to focus for a short amount of time, and drinking more than that could become unsafe and actually decrease your focus. Spread out your coffee intake throughout the day. In between, drink water.

Sugar, especially refined sugar, gives you bursts of energy followed by extreme fatigue. If you rely on candy to stay awake you’ll be crashing in no time. Protein works much better to provide long-lasting energy.

Get your blood pumping. When I’m falling asleep I find a few minutes of walking, or some jumping jacks helps wake me up for a bit. Nothing too strenuous, just something that gets you moving and raises your heart rate just a bit.

Ultimately, the best way, the foolproof method, to avoid being tired is to sleep. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Nothing should come between you and your health. Sleep for you, for your mental functioning, for your emotional functioning, for your physical functioning.



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