Tips to wake up and somehow stay awake during online classes

how to stay awake during online class
Image/graphics: Lokesh Eramchetty/ManipalBlog

A good night’s rest will help you focus on your studies and stay awake during lectures. It also helps you avoid getting sick. You can improve your ability to concentrate by sleeping well before a test or exam. Try going to bed early so that you have time for some quality shut-eye. Sleep helps us learn new things. It also helps us recover from stress. If you don’t get enough sleep, you may not be able to pay attention during class or remember what you learned.

Stay Awake with a Messed up Sleep Cycle

If you are someone like me then you probably also have a very messed up sleep cycle. Adding to that is the painful existence of online classes which is nothing like real-life college classes. Just the fact that you have only maybe 4 hours of sleep every night, you also have to listen to the class, because well otherwise, your very grades are at stake!

Sounds familiar?

Well, don’t fret because your good old friend over here has got some of the best tricks to fight off that morning sleep and stay awake during classes. 

how to stay awake during online class
Image/graphics: Lokesh Eramchetty/ManipalBlog

Stay Awake During Online Class| Image/graphics: Lokesh Eramchetty for ManipalBlog

P.S: I am no expert, neither am I a doctor, these are personal anecdotes that I’ve tried and tested and may work for you. Anyways, have fun trying these out!

The Alarm trick: 

From personal experience, I know that setting one alarm is, well simply put, absolutely pointless because you’ll end up waking up, turning off the alarm, and going back to sleep. The trick here is to set a minimum of 5 alarms, at a gap of 10 mins each spread throughout an hour. If the alarm doesn’t make you want to get up, then the pure frustration of losing so much sleep will get you up and out of bed. But I cannot guarantee you being in a great mood for the rest of the day! 

 The Alarm Trick 2.0: 

Okay so maybe the first alarm trick did not work for you. Here’s another alarm trick that I saw a couple years ago and it completely changed my life. The idea here is to set your alarm and keep your phone in a hard and slightly inaccessible place especially when you’ve just woken up. That way, since you’ve put in so much effort to wake up and turn off your alarm, you could get on with your work or get ready for classes. This is one of the most foolproof methods of waking up. Tried and tested method to stay awake. 

Ice water treatment: 

So the alarm has somehow successfully woken you up yet the risk of falling asleep is still there. So how do you continue to stay awake?

At this point, you try the ancient tried and tested method of cold water to the face, in simpler words, wash your face! The water absolutely refreshes you, rids of you any sleep, and gets you all prepared for facing your classes. 


You knew I was going to add this here. You cannot make a list of stay awake tips without Coffee. You could have coffee in the traditional way and wait for you to gradually wake up or try this sneaky coffee trick which also allows you to sleep an extra 20 mins.

You basically drink the coffee quickly, preferably cooled down, and then sleep immediately. Since the coffee takes a while to act, you get that extra 20 minutes of sleep and once the coffee hits you, you automatically wake up completely fresh. This trick has worked for me every time and is especially useful during exams/sessionals.

However, Avoid caffeine after noon. Caffeine is one of the most popular stimulants used today. But it has its downsides as well. For example, coffee contains about 200 milligrams of caffeine per cup. That means if you drink three cups of coffee, you could exceed 400 mg of caffeine.

This amount of caffeine can cause insomnia. Also, drinking too much coffee can lead to heartburn, indigestion, headaches, and even dehydration. So try to limit yourself to no more than two caffeinated drinks each day.

Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise improves blood circulation which increases alertness. In addition, regular physical activity reduces fatigue and boosts energy levels, and helps you stay awake. The American College Health Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise five times a week. And they recommend strength training twice a week.


I know struggle to stay awake, with online meetings as well. This one might sound obvious but sometimes when we sit still our bodies start to fall asleep. It can happen even if you’ve got an alarm clock set. So try moving around every hour or so. You’ll feel more alert.

Natural light exposure

You can get some natural sunlight if you set up your desks close to a window. It allows you to stay awake. You could also get a lamp that is bright. It will assist with the lighting in your classes.

Eat healthy foods.

Eating nutritious food keeps our bodies strong and energized. Foods high in protein like meat, fish, poultry, eggs, beans, nuts, seeds, soy products, dairy products, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat milk are all great sources of nutrition. They give us energy without adding calories and are an excellent way to stay awake.

Interact with the Teacher

It’s a good idea to interact with your teacher. You can make engaging activities even if they don’t. Don’t shy away from asking questions. This tip will also help you score some brownie points with the lecturer while you stay awake during the class!

Have sugar/sweet stuff: 

We all at one point have had way too much sugar, at a party or good old barbeque nation, but nevertheless, we’ve all experienced a sugar rush at one point in our life. As mentioned, by having sugar you are going to get a sugar rush which wakes you up but while this can be effective don’t use this method too often as it could be extremely unhealthy because of the high sugar content. 

Chew Gum

You stay more awake and your brain becomes more active when you chew gum.

chewing gum to stay awake

Nevertheless, if you cannot stay awake for your online classes because it has been stressful and/or if you haven’t gotten enough sleep the previous night, then don’t beat yourself up for something like that.

In times like these, we need to know that our sleep and mental health are way more important, and you should definitely prioritize that I hope these tips help you wake up for your classes effectively in the future. 

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About the Author – Tejas Srinivasan is a 2nd-year student at Manipal Institute of Communication, an aspiring musician who writes every now and then.

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