How to Pull an All-Nighter: Tips on Surviving Your Long Night

Big test tomorrow? Held off on an assignment until just hours before it’s due? Don’t worry — Blueprint’s got you.

Irene Jung (’16)

Have an essay due tomorrow morning? Got an AP World History exam when you haven’t even opened up the textbook? Planning on staying up all night? But wait! Before you reach for your first can of Red Bull, here are some tips and tricks to ensure maximum productivity for your long night ahead.

1. Lay out a plan.

  • Think beforehand what you have to get done that night. It will save you a lot of stress and havoc if you have a set list to tackle.
  • Don’t type it out! Gwendolyn Bounds of the Wall Street Journal discusses in her article “How Handwriting Trains the Brain; Forming Letters Is Key to Learning, Memory, Ideas” how writing things by hand can improve the process of learning and memorization.

2. Set your priorities straight.

  • Do you have both a biology exam and a chemistry worksheet due tomorrow? Which one will be more crucial when it comes to your overall grade? Avoid tackling more than one task at once.
  • Cut off all distractions.
  • As mentioned by the American Psychological Association, multitasking can cost you 40% of your productive time. Turn off Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and any other distractions; your body, brain, and assignment will love you for it.

3. Grab your caffeine later.

  • It’s tempting to reach for the coffee and Monster before the night has even begun. However, if you’re a regular coffee consumer or has already drank a couple of cups earlier in the day, drinking coffee or other caffeine products won’t have much effect when you’re trying to stay up during the night. Treat caffeine as your last spurt only when you desperately need it. When drinking caffeine, make sure to drink water along with it, for caffeine can dehydrate your body quickly, leaving it restless and tired.

4. Snack on the right foods.

  • When feeling drowsy, you may feel the urge to indulge yourself in carb-heavy foods such as chips and pizza. However, according to Dr. Nathan Shier, a nutrition science professor at Indiana University, such refreshments will only make you all the more lethargic. Instead, try going for protein rich snacks such as beef jerky or nuts.

5. Get some fresh air.

  • Do your eyelids feel heavy? If so, take about five minutes to open the window and breathe in the cool air. The chill will re-stimulate your senses that became accustomed to the heated room.
  • If that isn’t enough, go out for a short 10 minute walk around your apartment. Not only will the cold wake you up, but you’ll also get the chance to stretch out your muscles and shake off the stiffness that may lead to drowsiness.
  • A study by Robert Thayer, a professor at California State University, demonstrated how a ten minute walk increased energy levels for two hours, as walking pumps oxygen into the veins, brain, and muscles.

And lastly, if you finish early, don’t hesitate to sleep! That short 30 minute nap may not seem to be much, but it’ll boost your performance during the following day;  little sleep is better than no sleep at all! But still, too many all-nighters can ruin your sleep schedule, so try your best to balance your workload and get as much sleep as you can. Best of luck, and remember, don’t stress too much!

– Seiyeon Park (’17)

Header Source: Jorge Cham

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