Try These: Alternatives to Drinking Coffee and Staying Awake in Class

We have each had to pull all-nighters, cramming for that exam the next day, or writing a paper that was due in the morning, but then we suffer by trying to stay awake in class. Many of us resort to coffee. Americans’ dependence on caffeine to get through the morning has become almost a joke. Instagram and Facebook blow up with constant photos of people holding their Starbucks cup, and Twitter’s trending hashtags almost always consist of “#coffeeaddict,” but we all know coffee isn’t the greatest thing to consume, so what do we do? 

Coffee addiction is a serious thing and although it can be a very controversial topic, we can all agree on the fact that Americans rely way too much on caffeine. There are several different ways to stay awake without caffeine. 

#1. Stay hydrated. Keep a bottle of water next to you at all times. Hydration is very important and is the key to staying awake. Julie Chenoweth, a junior health studies major, said, “Maybe not drink coffee, but drink tea instead since it’s healthier for you. Or drink ice cold water and even Gatorade.” Drinking plenty of water is sure to help keep your eyes open during class after that all-nighter you just pulled.

#2. Munch. If you keep your mouth moving, it’ll keep your eyes open. Large meals make you very drowsy (we all know how we feel after the big Thanksgiving dinner) so instead, eat small amounts of food throughout the day. Munch on some almonds or a banana during class to keep you from falling asleep. Healthy snacks give you the vitamins and the nutrients you need to stay awake and also keep your hands and mouth occupied. Snacking keeps you from lounging back in your chair and keeps your mind focused on the professor rather than wondering off about what time it is and what you want to do when class ends.  

#3. Chew gum. Chewing a piece of gum can help keep your eyes open during class. According to Emily Coylc, an author for “The Cheat Sheet,” this helps because there is constant motion of your facial muscles, which increases the blood flow to the head. Also, chewing is not an involuntary muscle movement, like blinking or breathing; it slightly stimulates the brain, helping you keep your eyes open and your focus steady. 

#4. Take notes. Not only will taking notes help you process the information or be a source if you need to go back to them later, but taking notes will keep you from daydreaming. I know it might be hard if you are really that tired, but taking notes can go a long way. It will help you stay awake and influence you to focus more on the class material and less on how tired you are. 

#5. Sit in the front of the class. Change up the scenery and take a seat right in the front. I know sitting in the front is kind of intimidating, I hate the front of the class too, but it is very helpful if you want to stay awake. It will help you focus on the professor and keep your brain awake. Besides, if you sit in the front and you start to doze off, we all know who is going to get caught and yelled at in front of the entire class. 

#6. Make sure you get enough sleep. Chenoweth said, “The number one thing to stay awake in class is to get the right amount of sleep the night before. But we all know that rarely happens for any college student.” Chenoweth is right. Although it is very hard to get enough sleep while being at college, it is very important. Linda Bruno, a senior communication, marketing, and information technology major, said, “I take 21 credits and I try to take a twenty minute to one hour nap in between classes, just to try and refresh and relax for a little.” According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, sleep is extremely important in order for your brain to function correctly. 

Psychology instructor Cynthia O’Connell feels that a combination of things will help you stay awake during class. 

“It’s really a question of making a few lifestyle changes. A regular program of healthy eating, exercise and enough rest is always the best way to avoid falling asleep in class. If you are hungry, you can’t focus either, so be sure to eat before going to class, eat a well-balanced meal, not one heavy in sugar and caffeine, so you avoid the ups and downs. Make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day,” O’Connell said.

O’Connell also gave another unique tip. “Peppermint. It opens your brain. If you do not want to eat the candy, try putting a little peppermint oil on a cotton ball or on your wrist and smell it when you start to feel drowsy.”

The college life consists of term papers, big exams, and all-nighters, but there are ways to get good grades without having to stress and guzzle caffeine to make up for it. Don’t wait until last minute to study for a test or to start writing a paper. 

If you get your assignments done immediately, you won’t have to pull all-nighters and your wallet might be a little heavier due to cutting back on those Dunkin or Starbucks expenses.

IMAGE TAKEN from @Dariavalles on Instagram