4 Ways to Stay Awake in Class

(as always, click to zoom)

(as always, click to zoom)

“Similarly to the amplitude of sinusoidal wave, the obtuse transmutation of the radius/diameter ration is…” And, boom. You’re asleep.

It’s a common occurrence. Depending on the teacher, anywhere from 1 to 90 students may fall asleep in any one class. (No, classes don’t have more than 30 or so students in them, but, depending on the teacher, they may accidentally put entire adjacent classes to sleep as well).

Falling asleep in class is obviously caused by the fact that you don’t get enough sleep. But getting enough sleep is an unrealistic expectation; nobody does that nowadays, not even the Pope—he retired to try to get more sleep. Heck, if we all got enough sleep, we probably would have invented a vaccine for Bieber fever by now.

So, since you’re not likely to get any more sleep, you’ve got to work on staying awake in class. When you fall asleep in class, you usually miss out on vital information that you’ll never need to know to get a job in the future, such as the cosine of a metaphor. Thus, in an effort to help you stay awake, I’ve compiled a few tips that I’ve personally tested*.

*Just not necessarily outside of my imagination.

Shout Embarrassing Things

Adrenaline is great. It keeps us alert when we are facing a terrible situation, such as the possibility that our phone just died. It keeps us from relaxing the night before a big test on the social history of the 9000s, B.C.E. It even gives us a friendly ol’ heart attack when we can’t find our English homework in our binder immediately.

So, why not harness the power of adrenaline to stay awake in class? Train yourself to shout embarrassing things, like “I haven’t brushed my teeth in three months!” or “Does anyone else remember the time I peed myself in fourth grade?” Then, as soon your brain realizes what you just said in your tiredness-induced state, the sheer adrenaline should shake you awake.


Another way to get your adrenaline pumping is to exercise. After all, if you’re like me, you don’t usually fall asleep while playing sports. Heck, the only people who do are usually curling athletes, and when that happens—although I didn’t think it was possible—the sport becomes even more hilarious.

As soon as you feel those eyes droop, start exercising. Mind you, you’re probably sitting in a desk, so you’re going to have to get creative. Pick up your textbooks and do some bicep curls. Lift up your legs and start frantically waving them. Take your hand and jog laps around your desktop with your fingers. Sure, people might begin to think you’re crazy, but hey, nothing gets the adrenaline pumping like a straitjacket.

Use a Water Bottle

Water bottles are terrific when it comes to staying awake in class, and you can use them many ways. If it’s the last class of the day, you can just drench yourself in water and you should be uncomfortable enough that you can’t fall asleep. As a bonus, this can make it look like you wet your pants, which is embarrassing enough to kick in some adrenaline* as well.

If it is the beginning of the day, you can just sip some water—but don’t swallow it. Instead, keep it in your cheeks for as long as possible. This causes you to focus on the water in your mouth, which in turn keeps you awake.

Of course, you may look and feel like a beached whale, and you can’t talk for the rest of class, but at least you are awake. Once you get good at this, though, you may find that you still fall asleep—since you have to focus on it less—so at that point it’s a good idea to invest in a live goldfish or two to make things more interesting.

Finally, if you get a sports water bottle with the nozzle top where you must squeeze/suck the bottle to get water out, you can strategically position it on your desk so that when your head falls forward asleep, you land on the bottle and it squirts you in the neck, splashing you awake. The only risk is that if you’re incredibly tired, you might somehow drown, but that’s pretty rare.

*I am not an actual doctor or biologist. I have no idea if adrenaline is the right term to keep using. As far as I know, adrenaline is what causes puberty, adrenaline is what leaks out of your veins when you get a paper cut, and cancer of the adrenaline is the #1 leading cause of death in teens ages 20-29.

Stop, Drop, and Roll

Even though our elementary school teachers really emphasized this technique, I’ve never had to stop, drop, and roll after catching on fire. Thankfully, I’ve never actually caught on fire. Of course, I’ve also never had to write in cursive, nor go to Sally’s house and ask to borrow eight cookies, leaving her with three cookies left, so go figure.

The point is, nobody has any idea if stop, drop, and roll actually works. Have you ever actually seen someone use this technique effectively? In all honesty, it sounds like the sort of thing I would come up with on this blog. For all we know, stopping, dropping, and rolling only makes sure you’re evenly roasted like some sort of grotesque hot-dog. I mean, if you’re trying to put a fire out, it’s probably harder to aim the hose at the frantic person rolling around spastically on the lawn than it is to spray a person standing still.

But since nobody knows if stop, drop, and roll actually works, you can pretend you’re on fire in class. By the time you’ve stopped rolling around, the “fire” will be put out, so your teacher can’t definitively say whether or not you had been on fire in the first place. And, in dropping and rolling, you’ve probably gotten enough exercise/adrenaline/painful injuries that you can stay awake for the rest of class.

This technique works especially well in classes that actually deal with fire, such as chemistry class, cooking class, or study hall.


Hopefully, you’ll find success with at least one of these techniques. And, hopefully, you won’t be expelled for being schizophrenic or mentally unstable, either. After all, you know what they say: sleep is the greatest thing since sliced bread. (Yes, that means that humans didn’t actually need to sleep until after we invented sliced bread. It’s some odd medical relationship that has to do with the adrenaline of slicing bread, I think).

Yes, I haven’t posted in over a week. Sorry about that, but it’s hard to be funny on less sleep than you have fingers on one hand. Nonetheless, you can always just pretend that it’s 2012 and go read last April’s posts. Of course, if you need something to take up your time, you could work on suing your school to pay for college, as detailed in School Desks: 3 Lawsuits Waiting to Happen (Or, How to Pay for College), published this time last year.

As a heads up, there may be a few changes (one minor, and one semi-major) coming up in the next few months, so stay tuned.

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  1. Arthur Posey says:

    Hi Phil! My name is Arthur. I was wondering, do you ever publish guest posts? I have an idea for a post about the things people say to you over and over and over again when you’re trying to choose a college. The post would basically be a humorous article making fun of adults who get too involved in their kid’s college-selection process. If you’re interested, e-mail me back. I’d love to work with you! Hope to hear from you soon!

  2. I like the creativity you suggested for exercise! This is my first time on the site and I have to admit that I can’t stop reading it. I like the sarcasm and fun you put into the writing! You have a new fan here! If you want some actual exercise advice, watch a video of mine on my page, thepatrickmullin.com

  3. Linsi Perez says:

    This is very helpful, I always have trouble staying awake during class especially when i don’t get enough sleep, I will definitely try this thank you.

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