Not falling asleep in class is as difficult for some people as saying no to dessert is for others. Falling asleep in class is usually a combination of the time of day, the content that is being covered and how rested you are when you get there. But falling asleep in class too often can have devastating effects on your grades.

Good Diet is Key

A diet high in carbohydrates and sugar can lead to sleepiness in class. Carbohydrates and sugars cause your blood sugar to spike and leave you feeling tired later. This is especially true if the class you are struggling to stay awake in is in the morning after you’ve eaten cereal, bagels, muffins or fruit without any protein. Consider healthy proteins like eggs and turkey bacon or sausage for breakfast, lean chicken or other protein for lunch, or grab a handful of nuts to snack on right before or during class to help keep those eyes open.

Stay Alert and Active in Class

Activity can help keep your mind awake and alert during class. Even if you are not a regular note taker, writing down important points while your teacher is lecturing can help you focus your mind on something other than your sleepiness. Moving your leg, tapping your toes quietly and passing an ink pen through your fingers keeps blood flowing to your extremities and your brain while sitting in class. Even gum chewing helps keeps your brain active and helps fight sleepiness during class.

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Rest and Maintain a Sleep Schedule

Getting enough quality rest is another way to fight off sleepiness during class. Teenagers and even young college students need 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night, compared with 6 to 8 for adults, according to CNN Health. Teens going to bed later and getting up earlier than their parents can find themselves sleepy at school, especially during morning classes. Going to bed at an appropriate hour to allow time for adequate sleep is important. If schedules prevent you from getting to bed on time, consider adding a nap in the afternoon to help you catch up and feel refreshed.

Regular Exercise

Getting regular exercise, as well as quick bursts of exercise during the day, can help with classroom sleepiness. Teachers can incorporate exercise into the school day to help keep students awake and alert, suggests Dr. Ken Shore for "Education World." But even if you do not have organized exercise during the school day, consider stretching, jogging in place for a few moments, or doing some push-ups between classes or right before sitting down at your desk to wake up your body and your mind.

About the Author

Patti Richards has been a writer since 1990. She writes children’s books and articles on parenting, women's health and education. Her credits include San Diego Family Magazine, Metro Parent Magazine, Boys' Quest Magazine and many others. Richards has a Bachelor of Science in English/secondary education from Welch College.