I don’t know about you, but I often find myself getting sleepy when I study. Try as I might, after 30 minutes of work, I often feel like I am about to doze off.

Now one obvious answer to this is caffeine. A cup of coffee is pretty effective at waking you up when you have an IA to get through. Coffee is not, however, always the answer. Sometimes I’ve already had a cup or 2 in the day and don’t want any more. Sometimes I’m working late at night and don’t want to stay up any later than I have to. I’ve therefore developed a few caffeine free strategies for staying awake which I am going to share with you today!

Study at your desk

I know this sounds very simple but when you are feeling super sleepy the temptation is to try and study in your bed. While there is no substitute for snuggling up under your duvet, this will ALWAYS make you fall asleep. It is so much easier to focus if you are sat up straight at your desk with your work laid out in front of you. When I still want to feel cozy I tend wrap myself up in a blanket and grab a hot chocolate to get me through!

Drink water!

When coffee is a no-no, I find the second best thing to drink is water- preferably ice-cold water. Not only is it always great to keep hydrated, I find that especially cold water gives you a little kick to keep you up. I tend to have a water bottle on my desk which I regularly sip. This also gives me a nice little study break to go an refill my bottle which actually involves me getting up from my desk (sounds sad, I know, but very useful).

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Have some snacks

There is nothing more motivating than having something nice to snack on while you study and you brain needs fuel to function. I’m a fan of having some mixed nuts which I can nibble on throughout the day, but sometimes I have dried fruit instead. When I fancy a treat I am also a big fan of chocolate buttons. Check out this article for some creative study snack ideas.

Take a nap

I know this sounds counter intuitive, but a nap before you study can do you wonders. You have to be very strict with yourself- set yourself a timer for 20 minutes maximum (any longer and your sleep will become too deep) and make sure you have some water to sip when you wake up. It can definitely give you the energy for a few extra hours of study!

Take a break

Perhaps most importantly, you need to make sure you have taking regular breaks. I like to take a break for 5-10 minutes every 30 minutes to refresh my brain, though when I am doing something which requires extended focus I tend to break every hour.

A couple of suggestions of what to do when you are taking a break are:

  • Stretch
  • Do a little walk, just around your house
  • Reply some texts (if you aren’t going to get carried away!)
  • Watch a 3-5 minutes Youtube video
  • Eat your study snacks

Things you CAN NOT do while taking breaks :

  • Go to or lay down on your bed. DO NOT do this. It’s a trap. Trust me. Once you’re there there’s no coming back. DON’T TOUCH YOUR BED


If you are interested in what Lanterna can do to help you on your IB journey, why not check out our website HERE.

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