Look, all-nighters are bad for you. We all know it, we all hate them, but sometimes they’re inevitable.
When you’re in a sport, two clubs, working a job and taking 18 credits, sometimes your responsibilities get overwhelming, and you have no choice but to brew some coffee and commit to working through the night.
In order to help you fight against your body when it finally realizes what has been done, here are some tips and tricks to beat the all-nighter blues.
1. Prepare yourself.
Though you may not always have the luxury of knowing when an all-nighter will pop up, if you are lucky enough to see it coming, then there are a few tips to keep in mind leading up to the big night.
First, if you can get some solid nights of sleep and take a nap before the said ordeal begins, then you’ll minimize some of the negative effects of your late night. It also helps if the next day isn’t as busy, so you can take a lengthy nap to recover.
Also, stay away from caffeine until the evening. Trust me. Doing so will prolong the caffeine buzz in your body once you do imbibe, as your tolerance will have dropped.
2. Pick the right supplies.
You might be thinking that since you’re pulling an all-nighter, you might as well treat yourself to some of your favorite junk foods in order to pull through. Well, unless your favorite junk foods aren’t of the fatty and sugary variety, then you would be sorely mistaken. Foods like chips and candy will just fill you up with sugars and carbs, making you sluggish in your body and your brain.
Ideally, fruits and vegetables are great all-nighter snacks, but if you’re staying up all night, then forcing yourself to eat fruits and vegetables might be the last thing you want.
If that’s the case, then there are plenty of alternatives that are both tasty and beneficial. Protein-packed snacks help power you through the night thanks to their amino acids, so stock up on nuts, trail mix, beef jerky, cheeses and granola beforehand.
Oh, and chew some mint gum. Not only will it keep another part of you active, but it also helps keep you alert and ready to memorize.
As far as drinks go, you might be tempted to slam back a Red Bull or Five Hour Energy, but energy drinks tend to only have short-term effects and lead to major crashes. If you do want some caffeine for the night, your best option is a green tea or a light roast coffee. Check out different methods to brew your cuppa, and then keep it stocked during the night for some hot and fresh caffeine.
Still, the best all-nighter drink — though it’s a little basic — is good old reliable H2O. Keep your water bottle filled and drink up, because hydration is dope and helps you out in all sorts of ways.
3. Stay alert and active.
Physical activity does wonders to give you a little boost when you need it. Try to get up at least once an hour and walk around, do some jumping jacks, jump rope or whatever you need to get moving. It also doesn’t hurt to stand while you work, either. Just do something to get up and give your eyes a break from straining to see a screen or page — feel free to even take a short nap if you think that’ll help, but be wary; that’s risky territory.
Lights are good. Dark is bad. That’s Sleep Prevention 101. Do your work in a brightly lit room in order to avoid dozing off, even if you prefer the ambience of lamps and candles. That luxury is gone now.
Just like every other event in your life, all-nighters, too, deserve a bangin’ playlist. There are certain types of music that help increase your productivity, and kinds to avoid when you’re trying to power through the late night. A medium noise volume with minimal lyrics and a mildly up-tempo beat are just a few suggestions for the optimal study track. Whatever you pick, make sure it isn’t EDM or something, because that can be truly exhausting to make your heart rate keep up with.
Lastly, keep it a little chilly in your study space. That cold air helps keep you awake because it is the opposite of the warm, toasty blanket you wish you were under.
Anyone who has pulled an all-nighter knows that the worst part comes the day after. Your sleep schedule is screwed up, you want to eat the greasiest foods and completing any of your daytime responsibilities feels like what I can only assume summiting Everest must be like. Twenty-four hours after your usual wake up time will likely feel the worst, so be prepared to brace yourself when the morning hits.
In order to recover into a fully functioning human being once again, try to do the stuff that you ignore as a college student; get plenty of sleep, whether that be a long nap, going to bed a few hours early or both. Just don’t call it a day before 5 p.m. and mess up your natural sleep schedule. If you have the luxury, try not setting an alarm for the next morning and letting your body wake up naturally.
Don’t overload on caffeine in order to make it through the day, because that’ll just make sleeping later even harder and prolong your suffering. So go easy on the coffee. The next day is going to suck, but just try to pull through without going caffeine crazy.
Your body is probably going to be aching for the greasiest, grossest grub it can find, but make sure not to indulge those cravings. Stick to fruits and veggies in order to replenish your energy and nutrients and, as always, load up on water.
By no means should you make all-nighters a norm, because lack of sleep can do crazy negative things to your body. But, when you get slammed and have no choice, make sure you take the necessary steps to make it as healthy as possible.