How To Actually Sleep in Class (Without Getting Caught)

Have you had a terrible night’s sleep or stayed awake until the early hours studying? Or, perhaps more realistically, you had a heavy night out with your friends or spent an endless amount of time playing video games? Whatever the excuse, it’s clear you need help sleeping in class if you’ve found yourself clicking this article. 

Although we don’t recommend truancy or having a nap during a lecture (education comes first!) we know that even the brightest and straight-A students can find themselves drifting off. That’s why we have the top tips which will actually help you sleep in class without getting caught. A few includes:

  • Using nasal strips for snoring
  • Using a laptop for hidden cover
  • Wearing tinted glasses
  • Sitting somewhere discreet

This helpful guide will take you through everything you’ll need to know to sneak in a quick nap in while in class – but be sure to proceed with caution, as we can’t be blamed for any angry teachers looming over you when you wake up!

Getting The Right Position

First things first – you’ll need to know what position to sleep in before you settle down. Below are the top positions to try out – at your own risk of course! 

Hand-on-cheek support

This particular position is arguably one of the most used and well-known when trying to sleep in a fairly uncomfortable place. Whether you’re on a flight, in a car, a waiting room, or at your school desk – the hand-on-cheek is the go-to method for getting some shut-eye. To achieve this position, simply prop your elbow on your desk and rest your cheek into the cup of your hand. This position helps you keep you upright, therefore making it less obvious you have actually fallen asleep. 

However, you’ll need to be careful when you enter rapid eye movement sleep – known as REM sleep. Once you enter this deep stage of sleep, your eyes may be a dead giveaway to those around you. Also, this deep state of sleep may knock you off your balance. This could lead to your elbow slipping away and drawing attention to yourself. 

If you want to try this position, you’ll need to make sure you don’t drift off into a deep sleep to avoid any embarrassing crashing noises as your arm slips away and reveals your sleep agenda. 

Resting On The Desk 

This position is surely one of the riskiest of them all, but depending on your circumstances, can be executed with secrecy and success. To get into this more favorable position for comfort, cross your arms on your desk and use them as a pillow for your head. Lay your head on your arms, preferably facing away from your teacher so they won’t be able to tell you’re asleep straight away. We recommend putting your head sideways rather than forward-facing. 

Being In Prayer Mode

The prayer position is great for giving the illusion that you are in deep concentration or thought, all while you’re actually dreaming. How to carry out this position is pretty much in the name – all you need to do is cusp your hands together in a prayer position and rest your head on your hands. For an even higher chance of not getting caught, open a textbook in front of you and point your face towards it. This way, you can give the illusion you are reading your book. Also, since your eyes will be facing the text – who can really tell if you’re asleep, or simply engrossed in your studies?

Leaning Back In Your Chair

Leaning back is the most desired position for students with back pain – but it’s probably the most brazen to do in front of your teacher. This position requires you to lean back as much as you can in your chair and simply doze off. However, this position can leave you a bit too comfortable and therefore vulnerable, as your mouth gapes open and a snore can escape. Luckily, we have tips to avoid this too later on. 

Sit Somewhere Discreet

It may sound obvious but choose your seating wisely based on the position you plan on sleeping in. Going to the back of the class will leave you with a sea of people ahead of you, making it less likely you’ll be spotted. However, going for a seat directly in the middle of the class is also a good idea, as the people surrounding you on either side will disguise your sleeping position. You may also want to think about where your teacher is placed in the classroom. Are they directly in front of the class, or perhaps their desk is to the left or right side of the room? If so, try going to the back opposite corner of where they usually are. This means they are less likely to look in your direction – and you can carry on napping. 

What Equipment You’ll Need

As with every good secret mission – if you can call sleeping in school one – you’ll need the right tools for the job. The accessories below are essentials for getting you through your nap, without getting caught. 

Use Nasal Strips 

If you fall asleep in class, the chances of you drawing attention to yourself via snoring are pretty high – even if you don’t think you snore, you probably do. This is why it’s useful to invest in some nasal strips. One popular brand to use is Breathe Right, available on Amazon. The nasal strips are flexible spring-like bands which gently lift and open nasal passages to allow better airflow. They are also the only nasal strips that use 3M technology for comfortable fit and removal. However, if you’re worried about the strips being too obvious, you can use the ‘allergy excuse’. The strips can be used day or night for relief from stuffiness due to allergies and colds, so simply let your teacher know that you’re suffering from either of these symptoms and voila – the suspicion that you’re using them to avoid snoring can be lifted. 

Remember a Laptop and Books

Although your classmates can act as a good disguise to hide your sleepiness, you can use other objects for extra protection and discreetness. These include laptops and upright books. If you have a laptop to hand, especially if you’re a college student, pull your laptop open, hunch over the screen as though you are writing an essay rapidly, and drift off (just be careful not to smash your head on your keyboard!). 

If you’re a high school or younger student, a laptop might not be so practical. Instead, you can use a bulky textbook or reading books. Open up the preferably hardback book and prop it upright in front of you. Lean on your desk and sleep amongst the book’s pages – using the rest of the book as a barrier between you and your teacher. 

Bring Earphones 

Your professors may be more lenient about earphones if you’re in college, so take full advantage of this opportunity to bring them along with you. You can use these earphones not only to help you get to sleep and distance yourself from the noise of a boring classroom but also to appear to be engrossed in another task or online resource. Pop your earphones in while sleeping at your laptop or keep them in while wearing tinted glasses – which we will touch on later.

If you’re a high school student, your teachers may not approve of you wearing earphones so much – so instead, you can use the discreet sleeve trick. Pull your earphones through a long sleeve top and cup the earbud in your hand. Rest your hand on the side of your face so that the earbud is in your ear – except no one but you knows. This way, you can use the hand-on-cheek resting position while wearing earphones AND not get caught – it kills even more than two birds with one stone. You can also use your earphones to set an alarm to wake you up without alerting anyone else, which we will cover shortly. 

Wear Tinted Glasses

If you’re a glasses wearer already, this one is especially unique to you. Wearing sunglasses is a rookie error students make when trying to fall asleep in class, simply because it is so obvious. Wearing tinted glasses is a more discreet way of disguising your eyes while using the excuse that they’re on your prescription. You can order yourself a new pair of glasses with tinted lenses – just make sure that your opticians are happy that they won’t cause you any damage if you wear them in class regularly. Even if you don’t wear glasses you can still buy tinted non-prescription glasses -which will work the same!

Pack A Notebook and Pen

A notebook and pen should already be part of your school inventory, but if it isn’t, make sure to bring it along with you for this particular activity. If you are keen to adopt the ‘resting on the desk’ position, a notebook and pen are perfect for disguising your sleep as hard-working note-taking. Open your notepad/notebook flat on your desk and rest your head next to the pad, preferably with one arm under your head for support. Grab the pen with your other free arm and rest it on your notebook, as though you are about to write – in fact, it’s best to already have notes written down which are relevant to the class you are in, so it appears you have been working the entire time. 

The only thing to be aware of is dropping your pen as you enter deep sleep – so be sure to remain stable enough to have a good grip on your pen. 

Form An Alliance

Have Friends To Wake You Up

It might sound dramatic, but you’ll want a few people on your side as back-up to avoid getting caught. If you have some friends in the same class as you, try to sit close to them and let them know you want to have a nap. Ask your friends to wake you up if you’re about to get caught, or to help you be disguised. Your friends can even have a secret code – such as coughing twice if the teacher has spotted you. 

Use Your Phone As An Alarm 

As we said before, falling into a deep sleep will cause you more issues and probably lead to you being caught out. To avoid this, set a vibration alarm on your phone and keep it in your pocket. This keeps the alarm noise to a minimum while making sure you wake up from the vibrations. 

If you happen to be wearing earphones, you can use a noise alarm on your phone which only you should hear. This might startle you awake, so make sure your earphones aren’t too loud. 

How To Break The Habit 

Get More Rest At Night

If you find yourself constantly wanting to sleep in class, you may have an underlying problem, such as lack of sleep. The simple solution is to get your sleeping pattern back on track. If you’re going to bed late at night, try adjusting your bedtime and set an alarm for the same time every day – ensuring you get your body into a regular routine. 

You can also try exercise and other activities to help you get a better rest at night. If you’re concerned about your sleep cycle or routine and want to make positive changes, you can read the post I wrote: How to Reset Your Sleep Cycle – 13 Tips From Sleep Experts.

Nap During Breaks Or Lunch

If you find yourself truly battling to stay awake in the classroom due to a rough night before, you can find other appropriate areas or time to sleep. You can take yourself off to the library or a dorm room to get sleep in between classes or during a lunch break. This way, you can ensure you get some much-needed rest without missing out on an important class. 

Regardless of your situation, we hope this article helps you achieve the goal you desire – and even if you do nap in class, hopefully you will also achieve your desired grades. Be sure to remember that the sleepless nights of school/college won’t last forever, and you’ll be back to sweet dreams in no time.


  • Tiara is an avid sleeper and fully dedicated to her work and research. Most often this includes, but is not limited to, napping, testing how many hours in one night that she can sleep, trying new sleep methods and constantly changing sleep positions. Tiara's main focuses are on dreams and how we can achieve the best natural sleep possible. As a sufferer of insomnia and other sleep-related disturbances, Tiara loves to dig deep into the subconscious to ask all the questions that can help us better understand what happens when we sleep.

Tiara Croft

Tiara is an avid sleeper and fully dedicated to her work and research. Most often this includes, but is not limited to, napping, testing how many hours in one night that she can sleep, trying new sleep methods and constantly changing sleep positions. Tiara's main focuses are on dreams and how we can achieve the best natural sleep possible. As a sufferer of insomnia and other sleep-related disturbances, Tiara loves to dig deep into the subconscious to ask all the questions that can help us better understand what happens when we sleep.

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