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how to stay awake

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by ocean09, Jul 16, 2006.

  1. ocean09

    ocean09 member
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    Anyone falls asleep during the time you are studying for a test or doing your homework or reading your textbooks?

    I'm avoiding coffee. In fact, I tried coffee once, and it has no effect on me. :(

    Each time I study, I always fall asleep, and it is becoming a bad habit. So anyone knows a cure for this?

    I want to stay awake really badly, but my eyes want to shut. I try my best to keep them open, but with no good result, if that makes sense.

    Thanks!
     
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  3. Veshy

    Veshy Vinsanity!!
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    Ha. How about getting more sleep every night. Sometimes the best solution is the most obvious one. I have the same problem though, especially in regards to reading textbooks or papers. Unfortunately, my solution was often to not read them or skim, focusing more on class notes (but this isn't really a solution). Sometimes routine excercise (weights, running, etc.) helps you focus as well.
     
  4. braluk

    braluk SDN Surgerynator
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    ask a friend to slap you every time you start drifting away

    glad i could help
     
  5. ChessMess

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    drink a glass of water, and do twenty jumping jacks
     
  6. HigHal320

    HigHal320 Junior Member
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    I drink green tea. maybe try exercise regularly?
     
  7. Shejeboshease

    Shejeboshease Member
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    studying is not the most exciting task in the world; so i try to do something else while i'm studying..like listening to songs, eating snacks, and taking short breaks every once in a while.
     
  8. SpeakLittleB

    SpeakLittleB Member
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    yeah, i wanted to suggest regular exercise too. it really gives you a lot more energy overall after the first few really tiring/sore days.. of course make sure u've slept enough.
     
  9. 63768

    63768 Guest
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    don't use coffee. you'll need it for med school and residency and if you start it now, your tolerance will be too high for it to have any effect (not that it does right now apparently)

    have bright lights (i.e. white bulbs, not yellow) around your study area. that's how i stay awake. find a time that you study well (for me 10pm - 2am) and build your schedule with that in mind. not sure what else beyond braluk's advice. haha.
     
  10. spospo

    spospo Going to extremes
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    tip #1 - don't lay down and read (at least for me, i always fall asleep that way)

    tip #2 - take breaks if you aren't aborbing anything
     
  11. braluk

    braluk SDN Surgerynator
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    only my advice will work. nothing else can help now.

    if u need more helpful tips from me, ull have to get in line
     
  12. str8flexed

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    Drink MORE coffee than you're used to. Also, coffee doesn't keep you awake when you're already falling into microsleep... it just keeps you alert mostly (at least for me...). I need about 300mg or more to notice a small effect.

    But ya, the best thing to do is to get your butt onto a regular sleeping schedule, e.g. 11 p.m.-7a.m. EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK.
     
  13. MasterMD

    MasterMD it's a smile on the rocks
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    ive tried everything everyone has suggested on here and i still fall asleep... i dont drink coffee because it doesnt work on me and if i drink enough for it to work i get crazy and cant focus at all... the only thing that works for me is being a lame-o and spending the entire day in the library with the bright lights and the motivation of everyone else studying. if i start falling asleep there too, i just take a 20 min nap, wake up, drink a ton of water and splash cold water on my face.
     
  14. MirrorTodd

    MirrorTodd It's a gas.
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    Eat coffee raw or start dippin'. Hardcore style.
     
  15. phospho

    phospho SDN Lifetime Donor
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    ADDERALL!!! lol j/k

    dude, sleep more at night...it works wonders...
     
  16. Johannen

    Johannen Weathered Wayfarer
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    I :love: Mountain Dew.

    It's my drug of choice. :)
     
  17. NewNick

    NewNick COMP 2010
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    Change your glasses if you're nearsight. Your prescription may change. It makes your eyes tired faster when you read.
     
  18. anteater14

    anteater14 Junior Member
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    when my desk was outside of my room, i was able to stay up more. when i moved my desk into my room this year, it was a big mistake. the cold water thing works pretty well. "power naps" are okay as long as you dont' take five power naps one after the other... that is basically called "sleep"
     
  19. Dr. Pepper

    Dr. Pepper Duffman in Disguise
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    music and aspartame work for me
     
  20. StevenRF

    StevenRF Senior Member
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    Keep music on and make a playlist that is very random. Also, try shifting your studying to the morning or during the day. Try doing an all morninger: go to bed really early and then wake up and study until your test hits.

    I have the same problem and have just learned to cope with it. Oh, avoid doing the caffeine OD thing. It dehydrates me very badly and makes me feel sick like a hangover but without the fun of the night before.
     
  21. farqueue

    farqueue Member
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    keep room temperature cold at around 16 degrees.... trust me it works. our lecturers juz did a cohort study.
     
  22. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
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    Hi there,
    I am not offering a "cure" for your problem but I am offering some insight. If you are excessively sleepy, you may want to look into the cause.

    Are you getting enough sleep at night? If you are getting enough sleep, are you getting good quality sleep? Do you get up several times during the night and not get quality sleep? Do you have sleep apnea? Are you depressed? You can do a personal inventory and look for a solution to the above problems that might be making you sleepy.

    Trying to study right after a heavy meal is bound to bring on "food coma" and make you excessively sleepy. Try eating a lighter meal avoiding heavy fat foods. Also, try to avoid high sugar because you get a drop once you burn the high simple carbs. Try eating your heaviest meal in the middle of the day and eating a light high protein snack before you study in the evening.

    Do you get enough aerobic exercise? Are you well hydrated? Dehydration makes you feel extra tired so keep a bottle of water handy. Caffeine is a great dehydrator so drink more water if you increase your caffeine intake. (I would avoid caffeine after 6pm as it may interfere with your sleep anyway).

    The other thing to look at is your attention span. Most adults have a 50-minute attention span. Try studying for 50 minutes and then taking a 10-minute break where you walk away from your study materials and let your mind refresh. The get back to your books for another 50-minute interval. Om short, adapt your study periods to your personal attention span.

    The other thing to look at is your study method. Are you re-reading the same passages over and over? Have you tried concept mapping to break the monotony of reading and rote memorization? Have you tried making drill tapes and listening to them while you work out? Have you tried reading and pacing?

    As someone mentioned above, do not lie down and attempt to study. Study in the same place and outside of your bedroom. Gather all of your materials, have plenty of bright light and get to work. Check off things as you get them done so you see some progress.

    I hope that this helps!
    njbmd :)
     
  23. the negative 1

    the negative 1 Bovie to "war crimes" please
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    I always ask whoever's sitting next to me to jab me with a pen if I start nodding off in class.

    I also find that standing up and walking around for 5 minutes helps clear some of the fog from my head.
     
  24. CptCrunch

    CptCrunch Senior Member
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    I'm a crab juice man myself.
     
  25. ocean09

    ocean09 member
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    i know some people who have only 3 or 4 hours of sleep, and they can stay awake during studying. is that possible? they don't even drink coffee.

    everyone here seems to recommend me to sleep more, but what happens if i can't? i have work and test to study, if that makes sense.
     
  26. dwigt

    dwigt Assistant^RegionalManager
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    If I'm reading or studying at my desk and start nodding off, I lay my head down and take a quick nap. I DON'T lie down in my bed and take a nap because then I end up sleeping longer than I meant to. Napping on my desk is slightly uncomfortable, which makes it easier to wake up, but it is still refreshing.
     
  27. Sol Rosenberg

    Sol Rosenberg Long Live the New Flesh!
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    :thumbup: I tried everything to stay up and not fall asleep in classes, while studying, etc. I had also convinced myself that 6 hours of sleep a night was enough. Once I started getting a good solid 8 hours of sleep a night, that solved my problem. Getting a good night's sleep also had the "side effect" of reducing the number of stupid mistakes that I made on exams.

    Whether you are falling asleep or not, njbmd's advice about studying in 50 minute chunks is also right on (OK, I usually study in 1 hour chunks.) But if you've gotten this far as premeds, you probably already know what study techniques do or don't work for you by now.
     
  28. mychelle774

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    We have study cubicles in our library, so no one would see you drooling all over the place while you slept, and it was so quiet. Not good. I would fall asleep every time without fail. :sleep:

    My solution was coffee shops. Coffee works on me, but sometimes I have to limit myself or else the effect starts wearing off. Drinking something regularly while studying, even water, helps because you actually have to move instead of being immobile and you'll need to go to the restroom from time to time. But the biggest thing was being in a public place with light noise and moderate activity (people walking around) so I would feel really embarrassed if I just conked out at my table and I was more alert.
     
  29. MasterMD

    MasterMD it's a smile on the rocks
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    aren't you 9? (turning 10 in december?) :rolleyes: :p
     
  30. e_phn

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  31. HairyCow

    HairyCow Sweeping the Nation
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    Yeah, I nap at my desk too.

    Another thing to try is study a bit every night right before you go to sleep (instead of cramming in one night). And when you wake up, try to think over what you studied the night before. Definitely helps with retention.
     
  32. Astrithir

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    I had a friend who thrived with only 4 hours of sleep. She did that for two years, but then suddenly found that she needed 8. I also had a friend who was essentially narcoleptic, but figured out that 1am-3am was his best time for studying. Try studying at different times and listen to your body. If you ain't tired, you ain't tired.

    Is it the material or is it your general way of studying? Do you also fall asleep when you write a paper? Yet another person I know solved her desire to fall asleep by rewriting her textbook -- she needed activity to keep her awake. If it's the material, then maybe you need a more enthusiastic or just a different set of study aids: textbook, study guide, flashcards, books-on-tape, tutor, etc.

    If you're studying after work, work probably exhausts you and takes away your ability to focus. Take an hour to relax and relieve the day's stress; take a walk and admire the flowers, read your favorite magazine, take a nap, lounge in a cafe and listen to the music (but NOT TV or Computer), or spend ten minutes focusing on your breathing. Then try studying.
     
  33. tomorrowgirl99

    tomorrowgirl99 Senior Member
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    Some of this advice is really good, I think I will also try it. However, I think I may have a sleep disorder since I have been known to fall asleep during conversations.
     
  34. lilnoelle

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    I would change up your studying habits. I always fell asleep when reading my textbook, so instead I rewrote my notes. Writing kept me awake and helped me to remember what I was studying.
    If you have a text - heavy class, then read your book, looking for major points, highlight them and when done with the chapter, write them down. I can never memorize or make sense of stuff in the textbook, once I've written it on paper, Its basically halfway memorized and so my studying is almost done. (Although writing is time consuming, typing doesn't work for me, I have to write it.)
     
  35. mvenus929

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    REALLY cold water and air in the room tends to make me stay awake... that's how I manage it when I'm on really long road trips. Then once you get into the nice warmth of your bed, you fall right to sleep. The really cold water tends to jog my mind for a little bit, so I drink it regularly. Also, if it's a problem with actually focusing on what you're reading... my chem teacher in high school made us write one sentence about each paragraph we read. I didn't particularly like this when the paragraphs were incredibly small, but it does help to write a few notes. You can also go back later and just look at your notes instead of re-reading the whole text again.
     
  36. WantsThisBad

    WantsThisBad Member
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    When are you studying? Everyone has times of day when they learn best and when they are more able to study. If youre someone who usually goes to sleep early and youre playing video games all day and then studying at 2 in the morning then you may fall asleep.
     
  37. Johannen

    Johannen Weathered Wayfarer
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    Homer: "What do you have to drink?"
    Vendor: "Mountain Dew and crab juice."
    Homer: "Eww! Give me the crab juice!!"

    Oh man, that brings back memories...
     
  38. univscience

    univscience Member
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    the secret lies within an eric clapton song :scared: :rolleyes:
     
  39. jstuds_66

    jstuds_66 Free cat to a good home
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    Get something tall, put your book on it and study standing up. I don't know of anyone that can fall asleep standing up (although there may be some people). It will be good practice if you want to go into surgery. Don't rest on the surface and don't lock your knees. I find that blood flows better when I can't rest on anything (ie desk when sitting).

    If standing doesn't work, do 10 jumping jacks every 20 minutes or so.
     
  40. e_phn

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  41. sentrosi

    sentrosi INTARWEB USER
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    Pure ****ing willpower!

    Try to get infected by insomnia patients!
     
  42. HairyCow

    HairyCow Sweeping the Nation
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    "Cocaine?" Or "Lay Down Sally?"
     
  43. Pancho Villa

    Pancho Villa Senior Member
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    for all-nighters, i used to drink monster energy drinks, but i've found that just drinking a lot of water helps keep you alert. it also makes you get up to pee a lot so you're constantly getting mini-breaks.
     
  44. blarrgh

    blarrgh Not Even Doom Music
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    Cold or lukewarm showers work great for me. It wakes you up almost instantly, not to mention it's also good hygiene. Additionally, I've always done my best introversions in the shower. Sounds silly but remember that FedEx commercial when they had all these suits packed up in the shower to think of a better shipping plan? It's EXACTLY like that!

    I have pulled only one all-nighter so far in college and I remember taking 7 showers that night :>


    /no, this wasn't a joke post.. well, almost not
     
  45. sentrosi

    sentrosi INTARWEB USER
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    The hell? I pulled all nighters for no reason at all sometimes. I probably did at least 1 all nighter a week my frosh year. And I'm not kidding about the willpower thing. That's what I use. I just stay awake. Try it.


    Also, I've noticed that showers make you feel relaxed...which makes you sleepy. The awake benefit only lasts a very short time...after which you will want to sleep again. That might be why you yo uhad to take 7 to stay awake the whole night.
     
  46. OSUdoc08

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    1. Tap a nap.
    2. Study in a noisy, crowded environment (I like sports bars)
    3. Study in a group.
    4. Do some physical activity as a study break.
     
  47. ocean09

    ocean09 member
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    can you concentrate, though?

    i try my best to avoid a noisy, croweded environment..too bad, my house is noisy all the times.
     
  48. e_phn

    e_phn member
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  49. OSUdoc08

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    Yup.
     
  50. mustangsally65

    mustangsally65 Sally 2.0
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    I've always needed more sleep than the average pre-med, so my study time had to be concentrated or I would have had to stay up all night. I used to be able to get by on willpower, and usually the material was interesting enough to keep me focused. Also, if I'm too tired then studying doesn't do me any good no matter how long I stay up. My brain just stops functioning at a certain point.

    This summer was the first time I've ever almost fallen asleep in class, and the first time I've been so tired that I couldn't stay awake to study. I think the reason is that I was put on a diabetic diet back in November. No more sugar or refined carbs to keep me awake. I used to have a small snack while studying and it always helped me. Now I can't eat most of my preferred snack foods, and I've noticed the difference in my stamina and attention span. I don't drink coffee either.

    I'm going through some health issues right now and I don't feel rested unless I get at least 10 hours of sleep ( :eek: ) so I've spent most of the summer sleep-deprived. But I've managed to stay awake by using some of the methods mentioned above: getting up and walking around, having something to drink (although it's usually a Diet drink so no instant sugar rush!), or a snack (fruit is great but I'm in a dorm right now so that's hard to come by) like a granola bar. Taking breaks is essential too, even if it's just to check your email or poke your head outside to see what the weather is like.

    It's really startling to be introduced to this world of not being able to stay awake long enough to study as much as you need to. :p I've never done an all-nighter. :oops: I tend to absorb a lot of info from lectures, so my preparation outside of class is minimal in many cases. This summer I am doing an intensive pre-medical program that is supposed to mimic the first year of med school, and I'm learning very quickly that I'm going to have to change a lot of my study habits for med school.
     
  51. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    Fear's been working for me.
     

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