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Caffeine Focus Side Effects Staying Awake Study Studying

How Can I Stay Awake Whilst Studying?

I Can’t Stay Awake Whilst Studying

Just do it…

Struggling to stay awake and focused whilst studying? Finding that energy drinks aren’t helping? Do caffeine pills make you irritable?

Like most people I tried remedies in a box or can to help me stay awake when I had an important test to do, but found that I was even more distracted and less motivated to study.

Over the years I’ve found various quick fixes and tricks that have helped me and may help you too.

Trying to stay awake
Photo by Mayastar on Flickr Barfi hangover, My Friend Penny after she has had a Barfi…Side effect

Too Tired To Study

The problem for most of us when studying is that we are more likely to sacrifice sleep, especially as the date for the exam or test gets closer.

The temptation to cram in as much time as possible is very difficult to overcome, and may lead us to seek stimulants to wake us up.

And to compound the problem, our tired mental state may stop us from doing the things that we need to that would help us achieve our study goals.

Tiredness Reduces Your Studying Efficiency

I hate having to study when I’m tired. Everything seems to take that much more effort and the results don’t seem to justify the action.

Sleep deprivation reduces our mental performance. It reduces our attention and memory as well as our decision making.

Being tired also reduces our ability to understand our study material and increases the likelihood of us struggling during the actual test or exam.
Cari Gillen‐O’Neel, Virginia W. Huynh, Andrew J. Fuligni

Plan For Success

Success takes planning. Don’t fail to plan enough quality sleep into your revision cycle. 

It seems obvious because it is. Sleep is the best tool you can use to help you be able to study for an exam.

The following tricks are quick fixes, to get you through those difficult patches, but remember nothing beats sleep when it comes to preparing your mind to study.

  • Drink plenty of water
    Hydrate yourself and feel better. Water helps keep your brain focused and alert.
  • Make sure you’re eating healthy
    Eat natural. Think – whatever crawls, flies or comes out the earth or water. A healthy balance of good fats, carbohydrates and protein. Not processed foods.
  • Use a gadget that alerts you when you’re tired 
    I use V-CAF an Apple Watch app that alerts you when you are most likely too tired to study effectively.
  • Take timeout for deep breathing
    Deep controlled breathing has worked well for me, depending on how tired I am. If anything, it breaks up my study allowing me to have a quick easy break before trying to study more.

Review

The best thing to do when you have to revise is to plan your sleep accordingly.

Sleep used with the following tips will improve your chances of successfully studying for those exams or tests:

  • Drink more water
  • Eat healthily
  • Use tiredness monitors such as V-CAF
  • Use breathing techniques

Get It Done

If you’re reading this and you are currently studying for exams, I wish you the success you deserve.

Use these tips to help you get yourself through those difficult patches and I’m sure you’ll feel better about completing your exams.

Categories
Caffeine Side Effects

What Coffee Bean Producers Wont Tell You

What The Top Coffee Bean Producers Don’t Want You To Know

What you don’t know can’t hurt you…

I enjoy drinking coffee. I like the taste and it’s become a valuable tool that I use to help me focus and stay alert.

What I failed to take into consideration was that like all stimulants, there is a danger in the amounts that you consume.

No big deal, I only drink a couple of cups a day! Unfortunately caffeine is finding its way into more of the foods and drinks that we consume daily. 

What annoyed me was the lack of info regarding the cumulative effects of coffee and caffeine consumption; so I decided to write this article to help fill that void.

Fresh Coffee Beans
Photo by Alex@worthyofelegance on Unsplash

The Rising Consumption of Caffeine

Back in June 1 2013, the Washington Post published an article by Brady Dennis that brought attention to the rising amount of food and beverages that contained caffeine.
Slew of caffeinated food products has FDA jittery

Since then there are even more products on the market that contain caffeine.

  • Chocolates
  • Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurts
  • Puddings
  • Breakfast Cereals
  • Headache Pills
  • Various Medications
  • And surprisingly to me Decaffeinated Coffee (although at a reduced level – 12mg compared to 84mg in regular coffee)

I speculate that the increased use of caffeine in products that we ingest is not so much for the health benefits, but rather for its addictive traits (like sugar).

The Effects of Increased Caffeine Consumption on Your Health

There are plenty of articles on the web that suggest that going over 3 to 4 cups of coffee a day can be bad for you over time.

What are not highlighted are the cumulative effects of all the caffeine you can ingest in one day over a period of time.

Thankfully there are many research papers that find both the pros and cons for increasing your caffeine intake.

For example there was a study by G. Webster Ross, MD; Robert D. Abbott, PhD; Helen Petrovitch, MD; et al found that increasing the caffeine consumption of Japanese-American men between the ages of 45 and 68, reduced the risk of developing Parkinson disease.
Association of Coffee and Caffeine Intake With the Risk of Parkinson Disease

And here are some of the cons:

So what can we do to reduce our exposure to caffeine?

Caffeine Control Strategies

Moderation is key. To reduce our exposure to caffeine we first must take the decision to actively watch for how much we consume.

Here are some strategies that I’ve found helpful:

  • Read what’s on the label
    Although the amount of caffeine may not be on the label, if you want to reduce your consumption of caffeine err on the side of caution
  • Use alternatives
    Feeling tired; need to stay awake? Reach for an alternative to coffee (and not decaf)! Water; fruit juices; moving around; using an alarm like V-CAF that warns you when you’re feeling tired; over time these tools can help you naturally increase your energy and reduce your dependency on caffeine products
  • Become more informed about caffeine and your own body.
    By knowing the pros and cons of anything you take control over your own choices rather than defaulting to an industry’s standard for your life!

Review

These days, caffeine intoxication and addiction are real threats. The increased use of caffeine in our foods and drinks masks that we are increasing our tolerance to the stimulating effects of this psychoactive substance.

Use these strategies to help take back control:

  • Find out what you are consuming by reading the label
  • Use non intrusive alternatives such as apps like V-CAF
  • Become more informed 

Take Back Control

I decided to take back control in this area of my life and started a quest to find out more.

I’m still on that quest and hope that you also start your own. Together our collective individual actions can affect change for the better.

Categories
Caffeine Focus Side Effects Staying Awake Tiredness

How Do I Stay Awake?

I Need To Stay Awake

I can…

I caught myself falling asleep at work. Trying to wake myself up, I reached for a double espresso. It didn’t work. 

The frustration of that experience led me to search for alternatives that would help me stay awake. This article details what I found.

Tired child at breakfast
Photo by Annie Spratt @anniespratt on Unsplash Tired child at breakfast

Why Caffeine Wasn’t Working Anymore

Chances are that you have had a similar situation where you needed to stay awake and be focused, but found that you needed to increase the amount of caffeine that you ate or drank to feel like it was waking you up.

While in the short-term caffeine works, in the long term your tolerance level builds up, leading you to consume more caffeine to get the same effect. 

Is My Health Worth The Risk

The problem is that like any stimulant, ingesting too much can have bad side effects. Many health websites claim that you can consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day if you’re reasonably healthy and not taking any medications.

That’s about four cups of coffee, two caffeinated energy drinks or ten cans of caffeinated soda per day. 

Going above those limits can increase the risk of:

  • Migraine
  • Sleep disorders
  • Anxiousness
  • Frequent urination
  • Nausea
  • Increased heart rate
  • Tremors
  • Diarrhea
  • Addiction

The Alternative Lifestyle

After some minor soul searching I decided to try to be healthier and look for more natural ways to stay awake and be more focused.

  • Get More Sleep
    It’s obvious but it’s overlooked. Sleep more. Everybody is different so the amount varies. I tend to go for between six to eight hours of sleep, which means going to bed a bit earlier.
  • Exercise
    I’ve increased my workout times which over the longer term will boost my energy. But I also move around more when I’m feeling sleepy at the office. Standing up, having a good stretch or going for a walk have helped.
  • Use Technology
    Apps like Be Focused and Forest help focus your attention on the task at hand (which I’ve found wakes me up a bit). If you have an Apple Watch then V-CAF alerts you when your most likely to nod off or are feeling too tired to focus.
  • Drink More Water
    Up until recently I hadn’t been mindful of how much water I’d been drinking throughout the day. Now that I drink less caffeine, I found that drinking water plugs the gap that was once filled by coffee. This has the added benefit of me keeping the same routine of having a drink when I wake up or when I feel tired, but replacing coffee with water. And the best thing is that it works!

Summary

If you’re struggling to stay awake after drinking coffee, tea or energy drinks, there’s a good chance that your caffeine tolerance has increased.

Try the following alternatives to caffeine products:

  • Sleep More
  • Move around when you’re tired
  • Make use of technology to help you stay awake (alarm apps like V-CAF)
  • Drink more water

Where To Go From Here

When I decided that I’d had enough of drinking coffee to stay awake it led me down this path.

If you want to be more focused, awake and in control of yourself, take the decision to start as soon as possible.

The act of choosing whether you keep drinking coffee and caffeine products or decide to go healthy is rewarding and powerful.