Sleepy students need more stimulation

You walk in class 15 minutes late and as a result of last night’s club outing, within five minutes you are asleep.

When your good friend tries to wake you up and warn you that the professor is coming, you just yell at her and put your head back down. Suddenly, the professor walks over to you and stares at you until you wake up.

If this sounds familiar, you may be one of many students who use class time to catch up on sleep. This exact situation happened to sophomore Bria Graham in her chemistry class.

“I fell asleep in class and my teacher was standing over me and said it would reflect in my participation grade,” said the 19-year-old physical therapy student from Woodbridge, Va.

Graham said she has trouble staying awake in class because of the monotone voice professors speak in, which limits the excitement in class. Even though she does get an average of nine hours of sleep every night, Graham said some of her best sleep has come from sleeping in class.

“It’s quiet in class and there’s nothing else to do but sleep,” Graham said.

Tay Smith, a 20-year-old sophomore CIS student from Cocoa, said he falls asleep in class about five times every week.

“If classes were more interesting, then I wouldn’t fall asleep,” Smith said.

Despite distractions like doing homework late and going out to the club, Smith attributes falling asleep in class solely to boring lectures.

According to John Scott, a doctor at Holistic Psychological Services at 2880 Capital Medical Blvd., many college students fall asleep in class because they are not getting enough sleep and are overeating.

According to, there are many ways a student can get better sleep at home. One way is to not go to bed on an empty stomach, by eating a light snack instead of a heavy meal. Another way to avoid being tired in the morning is to not keep checking the clock in the middle of the night if you happen to wake up. This can cause anxiety. A third way to get better sleep at night is to limit alcoholic drinks, because it can cause one to continually wake up throughout the night.

Often times, falling asleep in class can be avoided by getting more sleep at night and eating less during lunch. Conversely, there may be times when sleeping in class, or anywhere, can be uncontrollable.

“If the person has narcolepsy they can fall asleep anywhere, but it can be controlled with a medication,” Scott said.

Narcolepsy is defined as a condition of frequent and uncontrollable desire for sleep.

Students may sleep in class because they may have ADHD and get bored and drift off into a fantasy world and daydream, Scott said.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a form of Attention Deficit Disorder where hyperactivity is present. Depression is also a factor and can cause a lack of attention in the student. If students find that they have ADHD or depression, there are ways to treat both.

According to, ADHD can be treated with the help of healthcare professionals or many other specialists such as psychiatrists, psychologists or neurologists. Behavioral therapy and prescribing medication and can also be helpful when dealing with ADHD.

To avoid sleeping in class, states that students should try to maintain a bedtime routine.

Still, many students say that sleeping in class can be avoided if teachers provide more entertaining lessons. Although paying attention in class is very important, students feel they can sleep in class and still pass.

“As long as my grades don’t fall, I’ll be straight,” Graham said.

Contact Shayla Cooper at