With finals right around the corner, many of us will be cramming with late night study sessions and all nighters. UH Mānoa nutrition science graduate student Makena Dyer and Dr. Anthony Pawson from the Memory Foundation provided suggestions for feeling awake in the days to come.

Eat breakfast 

Breakfast

Eating breakfast allows your body to restock the energy that has been lost overnight while sleeping. Skipping breakfast will make you sluggish and inattentive.

According to Pawson, biochemical messengers called neurotransmitters help the brain make the correct connections. Food determines how these neurotransmitters operate. 

Start your day off right by eating a healthy breakfast that will help your body get essential nutrients.

Eat the right foods 

Right Foods

It’s important to eat right and pay attention to your diet. Avoid fatty foods and do not skip meals. Get the essential nutrients your body requires so that you don’t feel sluggish throughout the day. Dyer also suggested  staying away from alcohol because alcohol is a diuretic that dehydrates you, which affects blood flow to the brain. 

Chewing Gum 

Gum

Chewing gum is another way to help you stay awake and be more attentive. Dyer said if someone is chewing gum, the chewing action gets blood flowing to the head, which in turn would help the person stay awake. There is caffeinated chewing gum on the market, but Dyer does not recommend using caffeinated gum for those with heart problems. 

Drink Caffeinated Beverages 

Coffee

Your active brain is producing adenosine as a byproduct of its activity. When your adenosine levels are high enough, your brain will know that it is time to get some rest. Caffeine impersonates adenosine and bonds with its receptors, putting off your brain's job of letting you know it is time to sleep.   

According to Dyer, caffeinated beverages are okay in moderation. Many of these beverages contain high amounts of vitamin B, which gives you energy but too many vitamins can be harmful.

Listen to upbeat music 

Upbeat music

Dyer says that listening to music can help with focusing and that instrumental music is best when trying to study or do homework. Listening to music, especially upbeat music, will help you feel alert and stay awake. Playing loud and energetic music can help wake you up through auditory stimulation of the brain. Before exams, listen to music that is fast paced and has a lot of bass as it is is more likely to stimulate your mind.