For some of us, the idea of getting through the morning without a hot cup of coffee sounds impossible.

Don’t get me wrong, coffee is great. It’s pretty much a gift to human kind (especially students), but too much of anything is never a good thing. Sometimes you’re running late for class, or want to save a couple of bucks, or maybe you’re just cutting coffee out of your diet. So, we’ve come up with a few alternative ways for you to stay awake, that don’t involve coffee.

Drink cold water

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: keeping hydrated is incredibly important for your overall health, but it’s also a great way to help you keep your eyes open. This is because dehydration causes fatigue. Keep a reusable water bottle on hand throughout the day and you’ll feel more energized. This also means you’ll be getting up for bathroom breaks, which will keep you up and moving.

Cat drinking water

Keep cool

Sure, being warm and cozy is nice, especially during our harsh Canadian winters, but if you’re trying to study, you might want to keep your body temperature a little on the cooler side. Heat tends to make people feel drowsy and tired. When you’re cold your body has to work harder to keep itself warm, making you more alert. Try to find a good temperature for your body by adjusting the clothing you have on, or by putting a small fan on, or even by cracking your window open to let some crisp air in.

Black fan blowing air

Chew gum

Having something to do, even if it’s something as mindless as chewing gum, really helps fight off those feelings of tiredness. Pick a flavor that you love, and keep your brain stimulated; this way it’ll think that you’re about to eat, which will cause it to release insulin, making you feel more alert. The facial movements involved in chewing gum will also help you stay awake, as this will cause increased blood flow to the head.

Amy Pohler, chewing gum, giving peace signs

Turn on the lights

This may seem like an obvious one, but if you’re struggling to keep your eyes open, increase the brightness of the room that you’re in! Sometimes artificial lighting can become a bit dreary, so try to find a natural light source. For example, if you’re stuck at school all day, take some time to go outside for fresh air and sunlight, or even find a nice big window to sit beside.

Light bulbs, brightness

Take light exercise breaks

Getting exercise is a great way to give your body more energy by increasing blood flow, and your endorphin levels as a result. Maybe you don’t have time to hit the gym, but even something as simple as getting up for a short walk will decrease fatigue. Doing any form of low-impact exercise in between studying and going to class will help you feel ready for anything!

Two dogs walking on treadmill


We hope these tips help you out, but remember that no matter how busy life is, getting enough sleep is necessary for your overall health. Don’t be shy to reach out to a friend, or ask for help from us if you’re feeling overwhelmed and need to talk to someone.

Can’t seem to stay up? Check out our sleep lounge for a luxurious nap on-campus!

North Sleep Lounge: 9 a.m.-4 p.m, Monday to Friday

Lakeshore Sleep Lounge: 9 a.m.-4 p.m, Monday to Friday