It can be frustrating to start feeling sleepy when studying, especially if you have an exam around the corner. You wish you would understand what you are doing wrong because you want to be awake for obvious reasons. Why does studying make me sleepy? That’s a question we will answer in the course of the article. These reasons include:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Low energy levels
  3. Cluttered brain
  4. Need to rebuild

In addition to that, we will discuss how to stop feeling sleepy while studying. Once sleep evades your studying moment, what’s the best action? Let’s take a look at the answers to all these million-dollar questions. Check them out!

Why Does Studying Make Me Sleepy
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Why Studying Makes You Sleepy

Unless one understands the reasons, it may be hard to know how to go about it. What about understanding the cause? After all, this feeling that’s usually unwanted most of, if not all, the time during studies? Let’s take a look at what leads to the sleepy feeling.

1. Fatigue

Just like a huge company with many workers, your brains have similar elements that make it work accordingly. They are brain cells, usually known as neurons, which are about several billion in one person.

Their roles include processing and storing information, thus assisting you in observing, understanding, and deciding whenever necessary. Besides working well, these neurons must work together to make the whole thing turn out well.

That said and done, it is hard to work for long without rest. The same applies to the neurons once they are done being at your beck and call for a particular period. The best mechanism when they are tired is to sleep. Since studying includes observing, processing and storing information, the brain will need to retire at one point. When that time comes, one will feel sleepy even in the middle of a study session.

2. Low Energy Levels

Besides fatiguing the brain cells, studying also drains your body’s energy. The more you think, the lower the body’s energy levels go.

After all, processing information requires energy, thus using up what your body has during studies. The same applies to processing information, thus leading to a situation where your brain doesn’t have the necessary energy.

Consequently, you will feel sleepy while studying. It is one of the best ways of replenishing your brain’s energy stores.

3. Cluttered Brain

After studying long, your brain has processed a lot of information. Not every processed information is beneficial to your exams within a studying session. Regardless, the brain is taking it in and accumulating it.

As the accumulation continues, there will be no more room for new information. The best way to continue is to take a break and clean up the unnecessary. Your brain will want to take that break to clean up and reorganize, and that’s why studying makes you sleepy.

4. Rebuilding Moment

Studying requires the connections of billions of neurons to work. However, as you study, these connections may grow weak, thus requiring rejuvenation.

Consequently, it becomes impossible for the brain to store any new information. In some cases, storage takes place, but what’s stored only lasts for a short period.

It is no secret that that’s bad news when studying for a test. The brain tries to fix these connections by taking a break. It is yet another reason why studying makes you sleepy. If you are wondering, the brain finds it hard to fix these connections while awake.

Read: How to apply kaizen method for studying?

How to Stop Feeling Sleepy While Studying?

You have several pages to go through before calling it a day. However, sleep won’t let you, but you must figure out how to deal with it. Whereas there are times when sleep is unavoidable, sometimes one can try out several things to stop feeling sleepy while studying. These are some solutions to stop feeling sleepy while studying:

How to Stop Feeling Sleepy While Studying
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There are 5 central pressure points that you can touch to stop feeling sleepy. They include the bottom of your feet, the top of your neck’s back, slightly below your knees, your hands back, and the top of your head.

Touching them for a while will rejuvenate your body’s energy levels. Any fatigue you are experiencing will also go away.

Study as a Group

If you are alone and don’t know how to stop feeling sleepy while studying, consider a study group instead. That distraction from your friends is enough to keep you awake.

However, this method won’t be constructive if your study mates keep diverting to other irrelevant topics.

Chew a Gum

This option should be the last result since too much of it can adversely affect your teeth. If that’s the only solution at hard, go ahead and chew it. It keeps your mouth busy, thus stopping you from feeling sleepy while studying.

Take Caffeine

Another way to stop feeling sleepy while studying is to take coffee or any other caffeinated drink. It will boost your energy levels, thus allowing you to continue studying.

Remember that it is a short-term solution, and too much of it can affect you adversely. Your daily caffeine intake should range between 500mg and 600mg.


As crazy as it may sound, talking to yourself when studying is enough to keep you awake. It is the same reason reading aloud helps you stay awake when studying.

Avoid Getting Too Comfortable

There are high chances of feeling sleepy when too comfortable, whether studying or doing other things. That’s why you are discouraged from studying in bed to avoid sleeping in the middle of a session.

Eating Healthily

Eating a healthy balanced diet can stop you from feeling sleepy. For instance, eating energy-giving food ensures that your brain takes a longer period to drain the energy levels in your body. On the other hand, too much fat causes you to feel lethargic and sleepy.

Sleeping Well
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Sleeping Well

Remember that your brain needs to rest to work. So, it will be unfair to expect it to do so if you don’t give it its due. Ensure that you sleep for 7 to 6 hours each night.

Avoid oversleeping or undersleeping since it is also important. Besides, stick to a particular sleeping schedule, and your body will adapt excellently.

Taking a Nap

Since the effect of a nap is similar to that of sleep during studying, grab one if you can’t afford much time. You will be surprised by how alert and woken you will feel after such a brief sleep.

Rotating Topics

Ensure that you study the hard topics early in the morning instead of late at night. Besides, don’t study the same topic or subject for long periods. On the contrary, keep changing them to avoid feeling sleepy while studying.

Guard Your Eyes

It is especially recommended when reading on a screen. Keep getting away from the screen after 20 minutes. Failure to do so could fatigue your eyes and make you sleepy when studying.

Other ways include washing your face, turning on music, moving around, and drinking enough water.

Read: Is Pomodoro Technique Effective For Studying?

Final Words

In most cases feeling sleepy during the study is due to unavoidable circumstances. That’s because the brains need to rest after working hard, and sleep does the trick. The brain may also need to reorganize, reconstruct and boost its working mechanism. Again the best strategy is sleeping to achieve all this.

Unfortunately, the need for rest often occurs after or during study sessions since they require information processing and storage. That’s why it is common for studying to make you sleepy.

Fortunately, all isn’t lost once the feeling encroaches. On the contrary, how to stop sleeping while studying is also at your disposal. In some instances, your behavior contributes significantly to the feeling.

So, avoiding these actions could help you not feel sleepy. Therefore, the above piece can help you improve your studying sessions.


Here is some frequently asked question about why sleeping makes you sleepy and how to avoid or deal with the situation.

1. Should I sleep when I feel sleepy while studying?

Feeling sleepy is a way of the body telling you that it is too tired. Try out the various ways of stopping you from feeling sleepy. If they work, good for you, but there are times when that won’t be the case. Under these circumstances, sleeping precisely by taking a nap is advisable. That short period is enough to help your body recover from that fatigue.

2. How many hours of studying is too much?

According to experts, one shouldn’t study continuously for more than 6 hours. That’s because your brain will likely be more than fried at this juncture. That’s why it is discouraged to study for such long hours. The recommended period ranges from 4 to 5 hours to ensure that you study hard and not smart.

3. How long should a nap take?

When studying for a test, you most likely can’t afford to sleep but taking a nap won’t take much of your time and still does the trick. The nap can take between 20 minutes and 30 minutes. It is such a light sleep that’s ideal for boosting alertness despite not entering into a deep sleep. That’s even better than getting into deep sleep since, in such cases, most people often experience grogginess, thus worsening instead of fixing sleepiness.

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