docmemi

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hi out there,
a while back i posted and said i fall asleep reading/studying. this is still true. its not because im sleep deprived. i need help staying awake.
any help would be appreciated!
thanks very much,
steve
 

carrigallen

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- are you taking any meds? caffeine, alcohol?
- what are your sleep/wake habits?

Sleep Hygiene:
- Maintain regular wake time
- Avoid excessive time in bed
- Avoid naps
- Expose yourself to bright light while awake
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid nicotine and alcohol
 

JennyW

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docmemi said:
hi out there,
a while back i posted and said i fall asleep reading/studying. this is still true. its not because im sleep deprived. i need help staying awake.
any help would be appreciated!
thanks very much,
steve
Consider getting your eyes checked.

Jenny
 

Sweet Tea

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carrigallen said:
- are you taking any meds? caffeine, alcohol?
- what are your sleep/wake habits?

Sleep Hygiene:
- Maintain regular wake time
- Avoid excessive time in bed
- Avoid naps
- Expose yourself to bright light while awake
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid nicotine and alcohol
ditto this.
 

Nanomed Dreams

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-The sleep hygeine recommendations are excellent overall. However, the recommendation with naps applies more to people experiencing insomnia (I think). Naps, applied correctly, are well-proven to improve efficiency during the day (we're talking scheduled, 20-40min naps between 1-3pm here).

Of course, given that your problem is too many naps, it may be a good idea to avoid them entirely, at least until you get them under control (and that may be exactly why carigallen recommended against naps).

-Getting your eyes checked, as mentioned above, is also a good idea, especially if you are having a hard time concentrating on text and/or are experiencing eye strain/headaches

Additional comments:

-Getting too much sleep can also be fatigue (and depression, incidentally) inducing. Most people need in the range of 6-8 hours of sleep a night (with 7 being optimal for longevity, epidemiologically speaking). So getting less than 6 or more than 8 might be a problem (keep in mind there is variation among people, so these exact numbers may not apply to you). Balance is key.

-No matter what your sleeping habits are like, you may become drowsy if you are extremely bored for extended periods of time. This can occur during studying if 1. you despise the material, 2. you don't understand the material and can't get a handle on it, 3. aren't studying actively enough, or 4. are studying for too long without breaks. So, make sure that:

1. You don't hate the material (I presume this isn't your problem).
2 & 3. You are understanding and integrating what you read. If you aren't making connections and understanding things, it's just like forcing yourself to read Latin or Portuguese (assuming you don't speak them), and about as interesting. Also, sometimes you can read and understand individual sentences, or paragraphs, but if you can't integrate that information with what you already know, it's similarly uninteresting and you'll forget it besides.
4. If you're forcing yourself to stare at the same book/notes for hours on end, you might just need to switch subjects more often, and/or take short breaks. I heard recently from a psychology student that the most efficient way to study (for pure memory efficiency) is for .5 hours followed by a 1.5 hour break (then reapeat). Now, we all know that strategy is patently impossible to apply for medical students (not enough time in a day), but keep the principle in mind. Take a 10 minute break occasionally to walk around. Talk with friends for a bit, whatever. Again, this is a balance.

That's all I can think of for now. Best of luck.
 

Nanomed Dreams

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I did think of one more thing. I haven't read your previous posts, so I don't know how bad your problem is. But keep in mind that just the fact that you occasionally fall asleep while studying is not necessarily a bad thing. I do that occasionally, and as long as the nap doesnt last to long (more than 10-30 minutes) and you can wake up and continue studying, I don't think there's too big of a problem.

The real problem, of course, is when the napping is taking away large portions of your studying time. I imagine that's what is happening to you and why you are concerned, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
 

Denise00

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I have the same problem and what helps me is making my reading experience active. I read out loud to myself, take notes, highlight or make note cards of the most important information. if i just sit and read and don't involve myself i fall to sleep, daydream or end up just staring at the book. Maybe you could make up potential questions that may be asked on a test. you don't have to get to geeky with it but having something to do will keep you awake and retain the information.
 

AStudent

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I always run, shower, then sit down to read.

I have no attention focusing.
 

Amorphisgirl

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AStudent said:
I always run, shower, then sit down to read.

I have no attention focusing.
I used to run before studying as well. However, sometimes I found the endorphin kick also made it difficult to concentrate. I should add, the inability to concentrate was probably tempered by my addiction to chai-with-espresso lattes. Good stuff. Good thing that didn't last long. :p My best advice: try lots of things, and do whatever works for you.

By the way, do you run to music, AStudent? What do you run to?
 

AStudent

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Just the radio.


The radio on the cop's shoulder trying to catch me.

Amorphisgirl said:
I used to run before studying as well. However, sometimes I found the endorphin kick also made it difficult to concentrate. I should add, the inability to concentrate was probably tempered by my addiction to chai-with-espresso lattes. Good stuff. Good thing that didn't last long. :p My best advice: try lots of things, and do whatever works for you.

By the way, do you run to music, AStudent? What do you run to?
 

Anka

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The above points are great as far as addressing underlying problems, but if you just need to stay awake and don't feel like addressing underlying problems, you might try pacing while you study. It's almost impossible to fall asleep while walking. Another thing that works is to have someone you study next to (not necessarily with) who will wake you up if you start to nod off. If you notice you're starting to nod off, stand up and walk around for a little bit to clear your head.

Best,
Anka
 

KidDr

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Nanomed Dreams said:
-Getting too much sleep can also be fatigue (and depression, incidentally) inducing. Most people need in the range of 6-8 hours of sleep a night (with 7 being optimal for longevity, epidemiologically speaking). So getting less than 6 or more than 8 might be a problem (keep in mind there is variation among people, so these exact numbers may not apply to you). Balance is key.
True that there's variation among people, but the averages are off. According to the Brigham guys who conducted the recent studies on resident fatigue-related medical errors/car accidents, the average amount of sleep needed by an individual is 8.4 hours per 24 hour period (with individual variation being really wide, between 4-12+ hours), which requires about 9 hours of actual in-bed time to account for the time it takes to fall asleep, physiologic awakenings during sleep, etc. Chances are that you're sleep deprived, like most of the rest of the population (and esp med students), so whenever you do something that isn't all that exciting (like reading med books), your brain falls asleep because it's trying to make up your cumulative sleep debt. You probably need to sleep more. Time of day matters too, because your individual circadian rhythm will make you more or less awake at different times. If you're really a night person it sucks because studying in the middle of the night doesn't really work well with a typical med school schedule. I agree with others, try caffeine, exercising, whatever works. If it gets really bad (esp during years 3/4) you might want to talk to a sleep doctor. :luck:
 

saanjana

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hi i had the same problem.....wanting to sleep while studying...combined with the inability to focus....my trick is to use lots of highlighters, colored pens, post its, note cards, etc, when I study.....i keep upto date with the new arrivals at office depot and am a regular :) somehow, if i have enough fancy school supplies, i sometimes study just out of wanting to use my cool gadgets rather than to learn the material.... :D .....another silly trick that might just work for you!
 

closertofine

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KidDr said:
True that there's variation among people, but the averages are off. According to the Brigham guys who conducted the recent studies on resident fatigue-related medical errors/car accidents, the average amount of sleep needed by an individual is 8.4 hours per 24 hour period (with individual variation being really wide, between 4-12+ hours), which requires about 9 hours of actual in-bed time to account for the time it takes to fall asleep, physiologic awakenings during sleep, etc. Chances are that you're sleep deprived, like most of the rest of the population (and esp med students), so whenever you do something that isn't all that exciting (like reading med books), your brain falls asleep because it's trying to make up your cumulative sleep debt. You probably need to sleep more. Time of day matters too, because your individual circadian rhythm will make you more or less awake at different times. If you're really a night person it sucks because studying in the middle of the night doesn't really work well with a typical med school schedule. I agree with others, try caffeine, exercising, whatever works. If it gets really bad (esp during years 3/4) you might want to talk to a sleep doctor. :luck:
Wow, this makes me feel less abnormal! :D I've been so sleepy lately too, for no reason I can see...I do tend to need a lot of sleep, but I've been getting it too. Even though it's the middle of finals, I've been sleeping probably 8 hours a night and then falling asleep for a 2-hour nap or so during the day!

And I only actually give in and go to sleep when this wave of sleepiness hits me so hard that I can't get anything productive done. Most of the time, I just feel very foggy-headed, even after caffeine...I'll even wake up in the morning before my alarm clock, unable to fall back asleep, but still very non-alert! And I do exercise and take vitamins...hmmm...

I guess I can try to chalk it up to all the studying I've been doing lately for finals (much more than usual, since I'm generally a slacker!)...but can that make you just generally sleepy? Or maybe the stress...but I don't feel too stressed out...

OK, enough of my sleepy rambling...I would take a nap if I thought it would help, but I tend to wake up just as tired...I am definitely a night person, though, so this studying during daylight hours is hard! :p
 

Amorphisgirl

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AStudent, various forms of "heavy-metal" work just as well.......for the adrenaline rush. Perhaps a safer outlet, no? ;)
 
S

S_R

docmemi said:
hi out there,
a while back i posted and said i fall asleep reading/studying. this is still true. its not because im sleep deprived. i need help staying awake.
any help would be appreciated!
thanks very much,
steve
Hope you're not eating any heavy meals before/while studying! Heavy meals knock me out cold!!! - not good when there is so much studying to do! :sleep:

Have a bag of chocolates/coffee beside you while studying.

Read your notes outloud, and talk to yourself :p

Also, what helps me....when I catch myself drifting off I sing to myself!! :laugh:

Helps me, wonder if anyone else does this??

Regards -
 

closertofine

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argh, I'm so sleepy, but I tried to take a nap and couldn't fall asleep! Now trying to study, but my brain isn't too willing to participate... :mad: :p Ideas?
 

zeloc

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S_R said:
Hope you're not eating any heavy meals before/while studying! Heavy meals knock me out cold!!! - not good when there is so much studying to do! :sleep:
I second this. I would sometimes get these excessive periods of sleepiness when I could not focus. I only recently realized that it was related to the foods I was eating. It does not necessarily matter how much you are eating, but just having heavy foods can put one to sleep.
 

AStudent

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:laugh:

In all seriousness though, I do listen to electronic/dance music while I'm studying, or failing that, classical. I can't study to songs with lyrics because I hear the words and not read them on the page in front of me. Dance music is :thumbup: because the steady beat and repeating melody let's you focus.

Plus if you have an esctasy you can have the most tripped out study session there is. :laugh: jk


Amorphisgirl said:
AStudent, various forms of "heavy-metal" work just as well.......for the adrenaline rush. Perhaps a safer outlet, no? ;)
 

closertofine

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zeloc said:
I second this. I would sometimes get these excessive periods of sleepiness when I could not focus. I only recently realized that it was related to the foods I was eating. It does not necessarily matter how much you are eating, but just having heavy foods can put one to sleep.
hmm, my experience tends to be that if I'm sleepy, it's sometimes because I need to eat...maybe low blood sugar? But I guess I do need to eat more protein instead of carbs...all I know is that neither food nor caffeine is helping at this point!
 

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I was sleepy reading too until I discovered....COLOR!!!!

Color code your notes- whether it be with colored highlighters or pens- this is fun and will keep you awake. Take notes in the margins, even if it's stupid trivial stuff- the act of writing instead of just reading, will keep you up.

If all else fails: VIVARIN!!!!
 

njbmd

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Hi there,
I set a kitchen timer for 50 minutes. I read for 50 minutes and break for 10 minutes. I also make little notes on my book or journal as I am reading. On my break, I walk around, get something to drink or a breath of fresh air. I find that when I return to study, my mind is refreshed and I can hone back in. I retain more and no wasted time.

I stopped drinking coffee and tea. I only drink an occasional cola too. The caffeine was doing very little for me to keep me alert. I find that taking a five-minute walk and getting some air is more helpful. I keep a bottle of water on my desk and swig on my break. If something is bothering me, I write in on a note card and think about it on my break.

I do not read in bed but generally read at a desk or in an armchair with plenty of light. If I am next to a window, so much the better.

I hope that this helps.
njbmd :)
 

AStudent

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Dance music totally works for jogging too, plus, when you get to an intersection and you're waiting for the light to change you can bust out the robot and impress the populace. :thumbup:

You can turn a "jog" from the cops into a scene from the matrix.

Amorphisgirl said:
ASTUDENT: oh I meant for jogging... can't listen while I study ;)