How to Stay Awake While You Study English at Home

You’ve probably thought it: With all this time at home, it’s the perfect chance to study your English and get ahead. 

Okay, you might have some extra time, but that doesn’t mean you have extra energy. In fact, you might be more tired than ever right now: Many people’s health, fitness, and sleep routines have been affected by quarantine life.

So what can you do if you really want to practice English, but fall asleep every time you try? 

Let’s discuss some ideas to help you stay awake!

Tips for Staying Awake While Studying

Use good lighting

It’s much more difficult to fall asleep in a bright room. Why? Well, that’s thanks to our circadian rhythm (our body’s internal “clock”)! For humans, light signals wakefulness, and dark signals sleep.

Sit up straight

You might have the urge to go sit in your comfortable chair or lie on your bed when you study, but that’s the worst thing you can do. Comfort leads to drowsiness! Sitting upright in a chair that’s not too comfortable will help you stay awake.

Eat right

Your energy and focus are connected to the kinds of foods you eat. If you want to have productive study sessions, make sure you eat a balanced diet that combines lean proteins, good fats, and complex carbohydrates. Great study snacks include fruit, nuts, and even a bit of dark chocolate. 

Also, avoid big, heavy meals before you study. Having a big meal can actually shut off the part of your brain that tells you to stay awake.  

Stay active

When you’re studying quietly by yourself, it can be hard to stay awake—you need to get active! 

  • Study aloud: This is especially important with language-learning. Not only will speaking help you stay awake by keeping your brain active, but using your voice is also an essential way to improve your pronunciation.
  • Write it out: If you stare at a book or an app for too long, you’ll lose focus. You might think you’re “studying,” but really, how much are you remembering? Take breaks to write notes about what you’ve learned. It’ll wake up your brain and help you remember information.
  • Get a study buddy: If you have a friend who’s also studying English, why not set up a Zoom meeting? You could quiz each other on a certain topic (like vocabulary) or just practice by having an English conversation! 
  • Stand up and walk around: We mentioned earlier that sitting in an upright position would help you stay awake. But what if it’s not working? Try getting up and walking around the room every 30 minutes to increase wakefulness. It’s pretty hard to fall asleep while you’re standing up!

Take a nap

Having a nap when you’re feeling sleepy is an excellent way to refresh yourself. But we’re not talking about a two-hour snooze. To get the best benefits, your nap should be between 20 and 60 minutes. A 20-minute nap can increase alertness, while a 30- to 60-minute nap can help you with tasks like memorizing vocabulary. 

Know when to stop

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, your brain is just . . . done. When you’ve reached your limit, you won’t be able to focus. It’s important to know your limits and allow yourself to rest when your brain says, “Stop!”


With changes to your sleep pattern, exercise routine, and healthy habits, you could be feeling more tired these days. To make the most of your time and study English effectively, try some of the tips above!

Andrea is a Gabby Academy coach and education technolgy writer based in Vancouver, Canada.