Dear 100 Hour Board,
I can't stay awake during church, about 30 minutes in every time, I fall asleep. Not usually for very long, but I can't seem to avoid it. I used to think it was because church was too early, but now church is at noon and I get all the sleep I need beforehand, but I can't stay awake, and I'd really like to. Do you know any tips that would help me to stay awake?
-My Name Here
Dear Not my Name,
Playing games on my phone really helps me stay awake and pay better attention in church (despite the disapproval from my parents whenever I'm visiting their ward). My favorite games to play during church are sudoku, a coloring app called Happy Color, a puzzle-type app called Hello Lines, and one called Zen that's sort of like Tetris, but you're trying to put the blocks together into a set shape (for example, making the silhouette of a bear with little tetris-like blocks). Those ones are all really good for me because they're engaging enough to keep me alert, but not so much that I can't still listen to the speakers. Playing a mindless game helps me focus just a little more and allows me to actually get more out of Sacrament Meeting talks than I would otherwise, because if I have nothing to do my mind usually starts to wander and I don't listen to anything at all (letting lay members of the church participate in church services is a beautiful thing, but man, some people are not even remotely engaging when they're speaking in public). Heads up, though, if you use any of the apps I just recommended, make sure you have your phone's volume on mute because a lot of them have loud blaring ads.
If phone games aren't your style, you could try bringing a notebook. Whenever I remember to bring a physical notebook and a pen to church it helps focus my attention because I can take notes, I can doodle, I can make lists, I can write nice notes to people in the ward who I think could use a pick-me-up, I can rip out the pages and make origami; there are tons of options. The types of lists I make in church include things like favorite scriptures, gospel topics I want to study more, ways to better serve those around me, things that help me feel the Spirit, etc. I'm a big fan of bringing a notebook to church. Plus, if you're writing in a notebook people look at you way less judgmentally than if you're doing something on your phone.
If all else fails, just read a Conference talk on your phone, or explore other things on the LDS app, or read the words of inspiring hymns or something. If you're not being spiritually edified by the talks, you might as well be spiritually edified by your own study.
My tip is to sit next to someone who can keep you awake. Nothing like a swift elbow to the ribs! This obviously is not the ideal solution but right after the sacrament I get hit by the sleepy train HARD. It’s pretty much the only thing that works for me. Hope this helps!
Figure out what to pay attention to. You can draw the pulpit and the speaker, count the number of "uh"s or "uhm"s, you can count the number of testimonies and sort them by which quorum or class they belong to, etc.
I think the falling asleep problem is a habit and if you can find a way just to break the habit, you'll be able to stay awake.
-Sunday Night Banter
Do a sacrament bingo! You know how we give General Conference bingos to kids to help them pay attention to Conference? Do the same for sacrament! Use small candies or healthy treats as your markers and eat them when you get a bingo.
You can get ideas for the squares from here (or just ask your friends). Bonus points if you're in a YSA ward and make one of the squares about dating stories or confessions!
-guppy of doom
I struggle paying attention! I have an app called "Happy Color - Color by Number" installed on my phone. There's multiple types of pictures: nature, flowers, mandalas, animals, hearts, places, etc. I mindlessly color during church and it helps me pay attention so much better than just staring at the speaker or teacher. The one downside is that they have ads that play after you finish a picture, so make sure your volume is off. But it doesn't bother me enough to try and find a similar app.
I always feel the bad when I accidentally fall asleep during church. (Not to mention falling asleep when teaching a lesson on the mission. Yikes!) Some things that people have told me that keep you awake is pulling on your ear lobes and massaging the skin between the knuckle of your thumb and index finger. This helps sometimes, mostly because it gives me something to focus on. My dad says that sometimes in boring business meetings, he'll raise one of his legs up a few inches and that keeps him awake.
I think it largely depends on you, though. I'm sure that you'll find something that helps if you keep looking. Some other things that I can think of are bringing food or candy to keep you occupied, bringing a church magazine (or reading it on your device) and reading that while the speaker is giving their talk, or trying to figure out what the speaker is trying to say and giving yourself a sermon on the subject (like President Eyring's father).
Keep at it. The fact that you're trying means a lot, so don't feel bad if you mess up along the way. Little things like this help me not judge others for things things that they do.
I also have trouble staying awake during Church meetings. Phone games help me out, as some of the others have said. There's a particular game called Trigon that is very good for something to do with your hands while still listening to and concentrating on the speaker. It also helps with my anxiety a lot to have something to do with my hands, so it serves double duty. If you're concerned about disturbing others, I usually let whoever is sitting by me know that I'm going to be on my phone and I won't be offended if they want me to move seats so they can focus. I also bring a water bottle and drink a lot of water during meetings. Having an acceptable way to move in some way is good. If worst comes to worst, bring a snack like you're a five year old. I do this all the time, in both classes and Church meetings. Pretzel sticks are delicious, unobtrusive, and help me to stay awake. You could do the same thing with mints, gum, hard candy, etc.