Staying Awake!


Hi all,

I have a problem of sometimes falling asleep when reading either in the library or at home, which is quite embarrassing when I snore!

I was just wondering if anyone has any tips on staying awake, or any natural energy remedies? I really don't want to be drinking energy drinks everyday.

Please help!



I posted this on another thread but if I am at home - I have a nap! Just a short one mind....make sure you set the alarm or you might wake up and find you've slept the best part of the day away! I can't help with the library though.

Avatar for sneaks

- exercise - get the blood flowing so you feel more refreshed for the day.
- Try reading AND writing at the same time so you aren't just staring at text.
- don't eat huge stodgy meals and then sit in the warm library - recipe for sleepy time.
- have regular breaks and go and get fresh air




This probably isn't scientifically proven (and may even be psychosomatic on my part) but I find making sure I drink enough and I'm well hydrated helps - it's a strategy I discovered when I was doing a really boring temp job once.


I get this sometimes although not usually in libraries, more likely at home. And if it happens, I snooze. Usually for an hour as that seems to do the trick. I feel like an old person but it does make a difference. I've been like this ever since I had glandular fever repeatedly from 2005 - 07 so I guess I got pretty used to the problem and now when it's still an issue I don't resist, just sleep. Usually when I'm not too stresses and have been sleeping well at night it's ok these days, but I still believe that if you're tired you're best off giving in to it! And if you can't or really don't want to, I'm afraid it's just espresso and chocolate as necessary. :-)


I'm the same here- if I'm struggling against the drooping eyelids, I just have to take a quick nap. I usually wake up after about 15-20 minutes and feel a lot better. I used to do this regularly in the 'quiet study' area of the library, but I'm fairly confident i don't snore. I sometimes wonder if it's in your genes. A running joke in my family is my father's remarkable ability to nod off at any opportune seated moment- social occasions, in the theatre, at meal-times... I find long lectures can be a problem after the first half an hour, and car journeys send me off to sleep very effectively too!

After lunch, I'll try to go for a quick walk, because I think that helps the post-prandial sleepiness a bit. Or a cup of tea or coffee, but I'm a bit of a caffeine lightweight and too much makes me feel very anxious and i can't work. I tried ginseng tea for a while, but the iffy taste wasn't counteracted by any miraculous benefits. Anyone favour guarana? Or find it is better or different to caffeine?


I tend to only let myself nap 10mins if I know Ive not slept enough, I have major sleeping pattern problems and insomnia so it puts me off a very delicate balance! It's probably best not to make a nap in the library a habit since your brain will start to associate it with sleep! Caffeine is best, a good cup of tea is refreshing and not too caffeine rich. Failing that, I wear layers so i'll take a jumper off, cooling down helps you wake up.


I am a PhD student and a weight lifter,therefore my fatigue levels can get petty high sometimes.I'll list few things which might help;
1)healthy carbs-fibre breakfast
2)meals every 3-4 hours (350-400 kcal each meal) with less of saturated fats(as most of the times greasy food makes you snooze) and starvation/skipping meals is worst!!
3)green tea helps alot,its natural and thermogenic.
4)8hours of sleep every day (some people require 9hrs-plan your day accordingly)
5)go gym or any activity after studies.will keep you motivated all times
6)sleep early-wake up early (11-7?...burning mid night oil has its disadvantages)
7)having a power nap after lunch for 30-40min is not a bad idea..i do it all the time
8)DO NOT DRINK energy mite keep u awake for an hour or two and then you'll be back to square 1.
9)leave the wordy literature for periods when u r most alert...reading heavy stuff after lunch or late evenings is never a good idea
10)get your vision tested regularly
good luck!:-)


Some very wise words here. Thanks very much everyone!


hi Jinio!

Im so there with u, when i first started my phd i was falling asleep all the time! One morning i came into work to find a fellow student had taken a pic of me snoozing the previous day and put it as a new desktop background on my computer! it was a bit of a shock when i turned it on that morning! I've also fallen asleep in my office to be woken by my supervisor coming to ask me something so I've done it all! :-)

the best thing i found is varying my day depending on how sleepy im feeling. if im not too busy il go to the gym just before lunch and have a small light lunch after that which helps get the energy levels going again. if i dont have time for that but im still sleepy then l go for a quick walk outside, even if its to the shop to buy some milk, it really helps. its best not to eat really heavy lunches as ur much more likely to nod off if the office library etc is warm. if u do feel like ur far to knackered then feel free to have a snooze, but just a short one, no more than 20 mins max. Any longer than this and ul start to enter a deeper sleep which ul feel awful after, so just a quick nap to rest ur poor brain is dead on.

Also i started making notes as i was going thru papers to avoid the monotony of reading continuously. it takes a little longer to go through all your papers taht way but the advantage is that when u come to write a paper or report you dont have to wade through hundreds of papers trying to find something you found interesting months ago - just go to your notes and u can find which paper it is much quicker!

I hope this helps, just stay clear of the energy drinks as mentioned before and drink LOADS of water!! if nothing else, going to the loo every 20 mins will keep u awake! (up)