How to Deal with Students Sleeping in Class?

It’s a common headache for new teachers even for some experienced teachers to keep their students away from sleep. As a teacher, you can’t even know why the student is sleeping in your class. Maybe it looks very disrespectful, my suggestion is to know and understand first why that student is sleeping instead of scolding him.

So, how to deal with students who sleep in class? Should you wake a sleepy head and ask in front of every student why he is sleeping? Or do you just try to keep him awake? I suggest keeping a student awake is the better option because sensitive students never feel good answering it in front of everyone. It will rather make him decide to avoid your class.

Here we’ll talk about the minimum time a student needs for keeping their attention in class and the other reasons they may feel sleepy. And finally, we’ll come to a conclusion about how to keep them awake.

Students Sleeping in Class

How Much Sleep is Enough for a Student?

Research suggests that students who get adequate amounts of sleep generally perform better in class than those who do not get enough sleep. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin found that high school students sleeping in class statistics scored lower on tests than students who did not sleep in class.

In another study, researchers at Stanford University looked at whether or not sleeping in class affected college students’ academic performance. They found that almost half of the students surveyed reported falling asleep during classes. Of those, nearly 40 percent could not pay attention to lecture material.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children ages 5-12 get about 8 hours of sleep each night. Children ages 13-17 should get 9-11 hours of sleep each night, while teenagers ages 18-19 should get 10-13 hours of sleep each night according to the organization. So, should students be allowed to sleep in class?

Reasons Why Teenager Falling Asleep in Class

There are many reasons students might choose to sleep in class. Here are some of the most common ones.

Falling Asleep in Class


Some students feel too tired to study during the day. They usually go to bed early, wake up early, and don’t eat breakfast. When they finally arrive at school, they’re exhausted and often fall asleep in class.


Many students experience stress because of family issues, work deadlines, or exams. Besides being stressed out, they may also be hungry, which makes it difficult for them to concentrate and fall asleep.

Lack of Sleep

Students who are tired skip meals and sleep late in the evening. Because they are tired, they may find themselves falling asleep during class.

Working late into the evening

If you work late into the evening, chances are you won’t get much sleep at night. And, if you manage to fall asleep, you’ll likely wake up early in the morning. So, even though you might be exhausted, you won’t be able to rest properly.

Studying Late at night

You’ve probably heard about the dangers of staying up too late. Studies show that doing homework after 10 pm increases the risk of falling asleep while in class. What’s worse is that studies show that the longer you stay awake, the less effective you become at learning.

Not Having Enough Water

Dehydration affects your ability to concentrate. In fact, dehydration causes drowsiness. According to the conducted research, 8 years old fall asleep in class because of not having enough water.

Drinking Alcohol

Alcohol is dehydrating and can cause drowsiness. Plus, it can interfere with your memory.

Read: Teaching strategies that work in the classroom

How to Deal with Sleepy Heads

In a classroom full of teenagers, it’s easy to fall asleep. But how does one wake students up without being too harsh? Here you’ll learn how to engage tired students and keep them awake enthusiastically.

How to Deal with Sleepy Heads

1. Wake Him Up:

This is the first step if a particular student sleeps in your class every day. Ask him gently why he is sleeping and keep continuing talking to him. Ask him if he needs to water his face and eyes, etc.

2. Use a timer:

Set a timer for five minutes and tell the kids to talk. When the timer goes off, give them 10 seconds to finish their sentences. Then, repeat the process. This way, you won’t lose anyone because they fell asleep.

3. Ask questions:

If someone falls asleep during your lecture, ask them a question about what you just talked about. For example, if you were discussing the Civil War, ask them why Lincoln wanted to abolish slavery.

4. Call them unexpectedly:

You can make it a habit of calling random students suddenly during the lecture and ask him anything. This is how students try to keep their attention in class and think about what you may call them anytime.

5. Make them laugh:

In the same vein as asking questions, make fun of yourself. Tell a story about something embarrassing that happened to you. Or talk about how much you love chocolate chip cookies.

6. Throw in some humor:

Humor works best when it’s unexpected. So, if you see someone falling asleep, take advantage of the situation and joke around with them.


1. Is sleeping in class disrespectful?

– It was disrespectful once upon a time and also depends on which class it is. Like in school and college, it’s not been counted as disrespectful as professors think it is disrespectful in university. Still, we all understand now a student can sleep for many reasons, he can be sick, can be tired, etc.

2. How do I get my child to stop sleeping in class?

– Parents, we should not let our kids wake up till midnight. They should sleep early and get enough sleep. Also, tell them to drink enough water. Because dehydration also causes a sleepy mind.

3. Why students should not be allowed to sleep in class?

– Because if he is really sleepy then you can’t make him attentive in your class and for not falling asleep again he will try to make conversation with other students. But if a student sleeps regularly, you must ask him about the problem he is facing and try to solve it.

4. How do you engage tired students?

– Reasons why students sleep in class are because they are tired, they didn’t sleep at night or sick or there can be other issues. But as a teacher, you must try your best to keep the student awake if he sleeps every day. Keeping asking questions of students and making some funny jokes are a good way to keep the students engaged in class.


Dealing with a sleepy student is a tricky task because we really don’t want to shame the student or scold that student in front of everyone for sleeping. That’s why getting friendlier toward sleepyheads works effectively. Also, age really matters. For a kid, you can ask him to keep awake in a nice sweet manner, but for an adult student or teenager, you must show some concern. Let them know you are concerned about their sleeping in your class. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to