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We’ve all got those days. Three projects are due on the same day. Countless huge tests looming before your eyes. Deadlines slowly calling out your name as a mug of lukewarm coffee trembles in your fingers. (A dramatic, Oscar-winning soundtrack beating to the frenzy of your heart…) You’ve tried everything, but you just don’t have enough time, and you start looking up “how to pull an all-nighter” and “what to do on an all-nighter.”
There are plenty of reasons not to pull an all-nighter—that is, the lack of sleep is highly detrimental to your thinking and reasoning ability, as well as concentration. Most sources warn against all-nighters.
BUT—and this is a big, cautious “but”—sometimes, there is no avoiding them. So, how do you pull an all-nighter successfully? Here are our top tips on how to yield maximum results with, well…minimum sleep.
10 Tips on How to Pull an All-Nighter
What to Do During an All-Nighter
Time the all-nighter well
Don’t pull an all-nighter if you have to be productive the next day! It’s best to time one right after the weekend—or any other time during which you received a good amount of sleep. That way, you can have a ton of energy during the night…and ideally be able to sleep it off the next day.
You might want to stay awake the entire night, but that’s easier said than done! It’s most feasible when you intersperse your all-nighter with small naps. A 90-minute nap (or one full sleep cycle) is recommended if you don’t want to wake up feeling too groggy. Nap experts (yes, those are a thing!) also claim that afternoon naps are the most ideal, as these nap cycles will be balanced between REM and SWS (Slow Wave Sleep).
Other all-nighter experts claim that it’s best to sleep for 3-4 hours right after school, then stay up all night. This way, you’ll be well-rested before you get cracking.
If you have to use the internet, but don’t trust yourself to use it for strictly academic purposes, you can “blacklist”—block yourself from going on certain social media sites for example…or you can “whitelist”—block everything except for the few select sites that you need. Check out your browser settings!
There are also some effective caffeine products like Military Energy Gum (Stay Awake Gum), which can help you, well, stay awake! Again, products like these should be used with caution and moderation.
Take care to study sitting upright in a desk. Lighting should be bright. If you want to be more alert, don’t get too cozy. Try keeping the windows open–or if you have a thermostat, keep the room temperature a bit chilly. Obviously, you shouldn’t make yourself so miserable that you can’t concentrate, but you should maintain a healthy dose of discomfort to keep you awake.
If you really want to ramp up your awareness, you can try a quick cold shower, too!
Alright, we all know that studying with friends is not always as productive as we might delude ourselves it’ll be…But with the right people and techniques, you can definitely have a productive study session! Plus, interacting with other people will definitely make it harder to fall asleep.
How to Stay Awake After an All-Nighter
You’ve finished your overnight study session, and now you’re wondering how to stay awake after an all-nighter. Approach the next day carefully. You’ll be delirious, tired, and react more slowly than normal. Try to avoid these things the day after an all-nighter:
- Long hours awake
- Any activity that will require your full, undivided attention
- Pulling consecutive all-nighters!
Before you head off into the abyss (or your next class), make sure to grab a healthy breakfast to power you through the day! Food that is high in proteins and nutrients is especially beneficial for your energy and attentiveness. Grab a couple of other snacks to munch on throughout the day and keep yourself awake, plus plenty of water.
Take short, occasional naps to ease off the drowsiness. Sleep earlier to pay back your sleep deficit.
Most importantly, don’t make this a habit. Knowing how to pull an all-nighter is one thing, but doing so regularly can have long-term consequences down the line. Only pull an all-nighter when unavoidable, as the risks are often too great for it to even be worth it. Until then…Happy sleeping!
The month of May means one thing- final exams. With the end of the semester fast approaching, there’s a lot to be done before grades are put in.
All-nighters are a necessary evil and a true milestone in the college experience. But what do you need in order to make sure that your all-nighter is successful and not just a waste of good sleep?
Here’s everything you need to do in order to pull off a night of staying up late to cram for your classes.
Eat Lots of Carbs
Energy drinks aren’t the only way to stay awake. In between drinking caffeinated drinks, be sure to eat lots of carbs throughout the night. This includes bread, chips, cakes, and pretzels.
Your body can break down any of these options into simple sugars, which your body then converts into insulin. This entire process keeps you energized, so it’s important to keep carb-filled snacks on hand that you can munch on all night.
When you’re thinking about pulling an all-nighter, it can be tempting to try to overload your system with caffeine all at once. To stay more awake, drink energy drinks gradually instead.
Health professionals suggest that you consume under 400 mg of caffeine per day. So you could try consuming 100 mg every few hours, which is about equivalent to 1 cup of coffee.
If you’re going to be consuming caffeine and sugar, and carbs all night long, it’s essential to stay hydrated. You should always be hydrating during your waking hours, and if you want to extend your productive time, you should be sure to keep drinking water during an all-nighter.
Ice water especially will give you a little burst of energy from the cold. And if you’re really desperate for an extra little energy boost, you can even splash it on your face to keep your mind alert.
When you’re not snacking or drinking, you can keep your mouth busy by chewing gum. Studies have also shown that it boosts your mental capacity as you study, associating different topics with the flavor you chew.
Mint gum especially helps to stimulate your senses so that you can stay awake, and it also keeps your jaw occupied so you can fight against yawning.
There are many techniques to staying awake during an all-night study session. Find what works best for you, but also make sure to make time to get plenty of rest. Your all-nighters won’t be as effective if you fall asleep during your exam.
What is an ‘all nighter’? It simply means sleeping right after the sun rises. You know you’re pulling an all nighter when you stay up all night either doing your homework or preparing for a presentation the following day. Although this is most commonly done by college students when they have a paper, thesis, or project due the next day, everyone is entitled to this sleep deprived activity. In order to pull a very successful all nighter, you must have the motivation to keep yourself up all night. Check out these easy ways how.
- Load up on caffeine. Pick your poison. Choose one, two or three drinks that contain lots of caffeine. This could be the all time favorite coffee. You could opt for soda, or you can also go for energy drinks, up to you. Although you must be warned that too much of something is bad for you, so better just take enough caffeine as you can to help you stay awake for the rest of the night. It is also advised to pace your caffeine intake so as not to get you all hyper because once you do, you’ll end up using all your energy up even before you get any work done, then you’ll feel tired as soon as you got your body worked up. Drink water in between, this also helps keep you and your bladder awake.
- Fourth meal of the day. You know that you’re going to be staying up all night and your stomach is gonna grumble for sure. After dinner and after loading up on coffee or energy drinks, make sure you have one more meal set up. You can either go for pasta, or anything with carbs, not lots of it though but enough to keep your energy up. Just be careful not to eat too much or else you’ll get too full and sleepy to even sit on your desk to work.
I hope you’ve been able to read through my current blog series about adjusting to life as a graduate student and getting used to the many changes that occur when you come from either undergraduate school or the work force and start your graduate career. As part of the transition, sleeping schedules tend to change and, most of the time, worsen, the more time you’re in grad school. However, there are plenty of ways to adjust your sleeping patterns, no matter what your usual sleeping schedule looks like. If you didn’t get a chance to read the first part of adjusting to graduate school by getting better sleeping habits, then take a look at it HERE. For this post, I want to give some healthy tips of how you can break those sleeping habits in healthy ways.
It can be dangerous to get out of a healthy sleeping routine, especially if it took a while to establish one, but I understand that all-nighters are necessary sometimes. I only suggest all-nighters in certain circumstances and for people who know how to pull all-nighters in a healthy way. If you feel that you need to stay up all night to prepare for a test or to finish a project, only make this a rare occasion, and don’t depend on these types of nights to get you through grad school. Good sleep is extremely important, and lack of it will hinder your focus and performance in school. Check out the infographic at the bottom of this blog for more info on all-nighters, including short- and long-term effects.
1. Set up your workspace.
The way you prepare for all-nighters will determine if you will succeed in staying up all night and getting all your work done. First, decide where you will spend your time (e.g., bedroom desk, dining room table, library desk, etc.), and bring all materials to that place (e.g., food and drinks to last the night, schedule for the night, and needed study materials).
2. Start working as early in the evening as you can.
One of the keys to staying up all night is starting your work early enough so your body can ignore its normal sleeping time for instance, if you usually go to bed between 10:00 and 11:00, start studying/crossing thing off your list around 7:00 or 8:00, maybe even earlier.
3. Take short breaks, refuel, and get your blood pumping.
As you continue throughout the night, your body will want to go to sleep, but remember why you are doing this in the first place and visualize your end goal that you wanted to reach by the end of the night. More practically, stay focused by taking a short break each hour or two to eat a snack or walk around the room.
4. When it’s all over, let yourself sleep.
When you cross everything off your list, allow yourself to fall asleep, and when you do, give your body the time it needs to rest and refresh itself. For more tips about pulling successful all-nighters, read this article from gradbaruchian.com.
5. Don’t make all-nighters a habit.
If you have to pull an all-nighter, remember all the work you put into making a healthy sleep routine. As soon as you can after staying up all night, get back into your routine so that your body can get back into its schedule. Need more tips about succeeding in grad school? Read our articles on the Succeeding in Graduate School page. How successful have you been in pulling all-nighters in the past? Are you preparing for one in the near future? We’d love to read your responses in the comment section below.
Introduction: College Hacks – How to Pull an All-Nighter (The RIGHT Way!)
By TheProcrastibaker Follow
It is back to school time once more, and you know what that means! After you’ve procrastinated studying for that exam or working on that final project, you have to pull yet another all nighter. They are fun at first, but after a few years they start to wear on you. Some people even get a hung-over type feeling once they finally get some sleep after an intense all-nighter.
I thrive on all nighter runs. As long as you can properly nourish your body to help counter the stress from lack of sleep, having an all nighter every now and then can make a HUGE difference in your GPA.
If you want to learn how to hack your life and pull successful all-night study sessions or project rampages, then this is just the instructable for you.
Step 1: Have a Plan & Come Prepared
- Copying all important points from notes into a study guide / cram guide.
- Re-reading one or several chapters of your textbook and taking notes as needed.
- Creating a complete set of flash cards and going through the set a certain number of times.
Make sure you have all of the study material and snackage that you need to keep you going all night long.
Drinks and snacks? Check.
Textbooks? Notes? Check, Check.
Index Cards, Highlighters, Sharpies, and Pens? Checkity Check!
Step 2: Take a Nap
No, not in the middle of your all nighter.
But if it looks like you may have to pull an all-nighter, it will be beneficial if you can get 1-2 hours of sleep sometime during the day before. You will want to make sure to wake up before 9 p.m., or risk your body trying to put you to sleep for the rest of the night!
When you get out of bed, it is sometimes helpful to pile other things on the bed to prevent you from laying down *just for a second* the rest of the night.
Step 3: Set an Alarm
Many people think that because they plan on staying up all night studying or working on a project that they do not need to set an alarm for the next day. This is a really BAD idea.
Not everyone can make it through every all nighter, and inevitably you will fall asleep during at least one of your midnight study attempts. There is no shame in this.
However, there is shame in accidently sleeping through your final exam, or your big presentation. Set an alarm for about 30 minutes before you actually need to wake up. This gives you a little extra time to get your sleepy head going in the morning if you DO fall asleep, and allows you to get to a stopping point before you start your day if you have managed to make it through the night and are still going.
Step 4: Hydration, Hydration, Hydration!
If you stay properly hydrated it will be MUCH easier to stay awake. Not to mention it will be much easier on your body the next day.
Aim to drink two 8oz glasses of water (or one standard 16oz bottle) every hour or two. It will keep you awake and alert, and help your body deal with lack of sleep stress.
- Drink twice as much water as you do soda. If you have a glass of soda every hour, have a couple glasses of water with it. This will help keep you from crashing and keep the caffeine from dehydrating you.
- Make sure you have enough caffeine to get you through the night! No one likes the Out-of-Mtn-Dew crash coming at 4 a.m.
Step 5: Snack Smart
- Pizza – It has carbs in the crust and protein in the cheese, great for giving you energy all night long. Order a large when you’re starving and snack on it the rest of the night!
- Cheese & Crackers – Also has those carbs and protein. If you want more food, add cut up lunchmeats!
- Apples, Peaches, Bananas, and Pears – Fresh fruit is packed full of complex carbs and natural sugars! Dried fruit is tasty too.
- Sandwiches – Packed full of things to keep you awake and thinking, sandwiches are always a great choice for study sessions. Take a good 10 minute break and make yourself a sandwich.
Step 6: Lighting Is Key!
Our bodies take a lot of timing cues from the environment around us, especially the lights. Lighting plays a key role in telling us when to wake up or go to sleep!
Keep your study room brightly lit to avoid any dim-lighting drowsiness. A good desk lamp or two can make a world of difference in your attention span!
If you find your eyelids getting heavy, stare at a dim spot in your room and slowly move your eyes toward the lights. This lighting motion will help simulate a sunrise and wake you up!
Step 7: Don't Allow Distractions
No matter how much your cat glares at you, do not give in and play!
Easier said than done, of course, but in order to pull a successful all-nighter you must not allow in any distractions. This includes, but is not limited to the following.
Turn OFF your phone (and no, that doesn’t mean vibrate or silent.) and unless about absolutely need it, turn off your Internet connection.
Music is fine in the background – some people study better to it – as long as it doesn’t distract you. If you spend more time trying to find a song or station that you like than working on your project / paper / assignment, then it is NOT helping you study better.
Step 8: No Procrastination, Just Get Started!
Step 9: Once You Are Finished
Your alarm is set. Your work is done. You are as ready for the next day as you possibly could be.
The question remains – stay awake, or go to bed?
Unless it is within 1/2 hour of your alarm going off, GO TO BED. Even a half hour of still restfulness (you may be too anxious or caffeinated to sleep by this point.) will benefit both your body and mind. Sleep if you can, if not, just lay still and try to get comfortable and relax until the alarm goes off.
Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Not us responsible ones who are good at time management, but the people like you have all been there. To help you out, we’ve come up with several useful tips for taking on an all-nighter.
Tip #1: Stack up on snacks
This isn’t a commonly overlooked step, but it’s an important one regardless. You’ll most likely get hungry during your all-nighter, so make sure you have a few snacks on hand. However, certain foods are better at helping keep you awake than others. Foods and drinks with caffeine, like dark chocolate, will give you an energy boost, as will whole grains and fruits packed with vitamin C. Stay away from refined carbohydrates though; as tempting as that microwaveable ramen may seem, it might not be your best option for preventing drowsiness.
Tip #2: Take silent dance breaks
Of course, you shouldn’t just rely on eating to get you through the night. Getting up and moving around will get your juices flowing, and will let you temporarily take your mind off your work. We recommend dancing around a bit, but with light movements. After all, there are people sleeping who actually did complete their work, and you wouldn’t want to wake those studious individuals up.
Tip #3: Listen to music that’ll get you energized
When you’re taking your silent dance break(s), or even when you’re just struggling through your homework, you’re going to want some music that hypes you up. Here are a few song suggestions to add to your playlist (if they’re not already on there):
“Shake It Off” – Taylor Swift
“American Idiot” – Green Day
“Girlfriend” – Avril Lavigne
“Rock Your Body” – Justin Timberlake
Tip #4: Binge-watch “The Office,” but only in three-minute segments
Watching “The Office” can be a great stress-reliever, and when you’re stressed to the max during your all-nighter, you’ll probably want to turn to the workplace mockumentary to comfort yourself. Clearly, you already waste a lot of time in general, as indicated by you having to pull an all-nighter, so be smart about how much time you spend watching. After an hour or so of work, reward yourself with three-minutes of Dunder Mifflin shenanigans, then return to the grind. Be sure you don’t go past three minutes though. Otherwise, you could get sucked in for a whole episode. Or ten.
Tip #5: Check out SCAD District’s website
Can’t get enough John Krasinski by watching “The Office”? Why not check out SCAD District’s interview with the actor and wife Emily Blunt? Or one of the many other videos or articles on District’s website. In case we haven’t already made it obvious, it can be beneficial to give your mind a temporary distraction from school work, and we think checking out a nice District piece is a good way to go.
Tip #6: Do your laundry
At 3 a.m., there’s a good chance of the laundry rooms being pretty much empty. Take advantage of this by knocking out your laundry while you finish your work. It’ll give you a reason to get up and stretch your legs and you’ll have clean, fresh clothes for the morning.
Hopefully, these tips will be helpful for getting you through your all-nighter. We’re confident that you will learn from this experience and grow into a more studious SCAD bee, but we suggest you save this article to your bookmarks, just in case.
Staying up all night is an arduous feat for all of us, especially when your eyes can no longer distinguish between the countless pages of words and blurred lines. Having a body clock of an owl, I have pulled many all-nighters to finish up my school work (and of course sneak in some time for my shows as well). With that, here are five tips on how to pull a successful all-nighter
(Credit: fancycrave1 / pixabay)
1 / The Perfect Coffee Time
It is said that the effects of caffeine starts kicking in within 15 minutes of consumption and lasts for about 6 hours each time. With that, it would be wise to plan the timing of your consumption such that it will keep you awake for the whole night and through school the next day.
Just remember to crash immediately after you come home from school the following day so that you are well rested.
2 / Lights & Environment
Bright lights can help you to stay focussed on the task at hand and not be put in a lull, which would happen if you are under dim lighting. Also, try to stay away from your bedroom so that your bed does not get too tempting. Your dining or coffee table would be a great option, since it gets quiet in the night anyway.
(Credit: kaboompics / pixabay)
3 / Filling Meals – A No-No
Personally, this is one of the most difficult things to control simply because studying gets me feeling really hungry at times. Without proper food within an arms’ length, I would often feel tempted to cook a packet of instant noodles for myself. Truth be told, I always regret this because it lands me in a food coma. What I would highly recommend is for you to grab yourselves some light and nutritional snacks, like nuts, to keep you munching and not feel sleepy!
4 / Warm Is Good
Now I know a lot of us prefer to study in a cool and comfortable environment, especially with the horrendous heat we live in, but doing this will make you just want to crawl into your bed and get under your covers as quick as possible.
I usually would avoid switching on the air-conditioner when I study in my room. Instead, I would angle my pedestal fan such that it is facing away from my face so that the wind doesn’t make me sleepy but let it blow on my feet, making the cooling wind travels up my body.
The rare all-nighter is a necessary evil for many professionals and students trying to meet a tight deadline whether it be for a final exam or to meet a project due date.
Saddleback College student Matthew Smith, 21, says his sleep habits lean more towards the side of being a night owl and how this effects his success when it comes to pulling an all-nighter at the Mission Viejo library on Tuesday, March 27.
“When it comes to tackling the big night I always prepare accordingly,” Smith says. “I must be in a comfortable work setting, always make sure my station is organized, have good snacks available, stay hydrated and avoid reduced distractions at all costs.”
Caffeine is a necessity when it comes to Smith’s nightly routine. He will usually lean towards coffee but he also tries his best to only drink small amounts at a time in order to reduce the possibility of crashing afterwards.
“As far as I can remember I have never had the best of sleep habits,” Smith says. “When my father passed away it became harder to fall asleep or to get a full eight hours of rest, but in the end it helped me overcome the struggle of pulling an all-nighter when I need to the most.”
Like many college students, sleepless nights are sometimes the only answer when it comes to either making or breaking the final grade. However, college students aren’t the only ones who suffer from this pain, in general, adults do as well.
“While the mean total sleep time of adults is about eight hours, there is much variance on both sides or tails of the curve” according to the Sleep Association. “Some adults only require six to seven hours, while others require nine to ten.”
Paul Davis, 52, an independent insurance broker said he manages to pull a successful all-nighter when it comes to meeting specific deadlines.
“Getting the big prize is what keeps me motivated the most when it comes to pulling an all-nighter,” Davis says. “I don’t pull all-nighters all to often but when I do its mainly because I have fallen behind on work and everything becomes so overwhelming.”
Physical activity and a healthy diet plays a big role when it comes to Davis’s nightly routine. He does sets of push ups and jumping jacks to keep his blood flowing so that it will help his brain stay on the right track. His diet consists of eating something healthy for dinner and then only consuming water and coffee moving forward.
Overall, there are a variety of different strategies on how to help one pull an all-nighter. However, at the end of the day it is all based on which strategy you choose and how well you coordinate your night to come.
It isn’t any secret that attending college is hard! It is a huge adjustment from high school for many reasons. The assignments are more in-depth and complicated, not to mention you will be making new friends and attending social functions! All of these things will surely catch you by surprise when you get that first big assignment. Almost everyone who attends college will face a 10 to 20 page paper at some point, and there isn’t any doubt they will procrastinate until the night before it is due to complete it! This will call for the ever famous all nighter! Below you will find several tips on how to have a successful all night study or writing session!
Here are a few suggestions on how to stay up all night and get your assignment done or prepare for your test!
- Have all school supplies handy. Before you start to work you will want to make sure you have all of your supplies handy. Let’s say you are writing a paper that requires sources. Be sure to head to the library and get all the necessary books you will need for writing. Have a few notebooks for taking notes from the books, as well as your computer ready for typing. If you are studying for an exam make up flashcards ahead of time or have all of your textbooks ready with specific pages marked before beginning.
- Wear comfortable clothes. In order to stay up all night and study or write you have to be comfortable since you will be sitting in the same place for long hours at a time. Great suggestions are pajama pants or shorts and a favorite comfortable t-shirt.
Here are a few things you should avoid when pulling an all night study session!
- Laying in bed. Try not to lay in bed when you study. This will only increase your chances for falling asleep!
- Caffeine pills. Never take caffeine or "stay awake" pills. You never know how your body will react to them and they can be dangerous. Chances are your body will react in an ill manner and your studying will not be accomplished.
The best way to study is to not pull an all nighter at all if you can avoid it. Your brain always functions better after you’ve had a good night’s rest and have thoroughly gone over your materials. The best way to study is to plan days ahead of time in order to allow yourself time to study and sleep. However, if you do have to pull an all night study/writing marathon these simple tips will help you achieve study success!
Many a student will know the struggle of having more work than hours in the day. Like me, during the prickly end of the semester/term, you might find that you’re gearing up for an all-nighter to catch up on some work, deeply regretting the massive Netflix binge that you pulled yesterday instead of doing anything productive. Sometimes, it’s inevitable that you will have to push through the night, bleary eyed, just to get shit done.
1. Go in with a game plan
Don’t decide to pull an all-nighter without some idea of what you need to get done. If you have a massive list of shit to do, figure out what’s most important. 40% essay due the next day as well as a lab report due the day after and a couple of bits of homework chucked in there too? Just focus on getting the essay done. The more work you give yourself to do the harder it will be to actually get anything done and you’ll feel like you’re running towards a finish line that isn’t getting any closer.
2. Don’t fall for the ‘I’ll do it in the morning’
When you’re starting to fall into the gales of sleep deprivation you’ll probably start making these sorts of promises with yourself, ones like ‘If I go to bed now I’ll get up early and finish it in the morning’. You know you’re lying- once your head hits the pillow you’re down and out, so don’t trick yourself into falling for these false promises.
3. Stay away from your bed
It’s tempting to set up shop in the middle of your bed, cocooned by study notes and blankets. Don’t do it- you’ll find yourself five minutes in and fast asleep. Get out of your bed and out of your room if you can. You want to be comfortable, but not comfortable enough to fall asleep, and when you start getting to the early hours of the morning even your bedroom floor will seem like a good place for a nap.
4. Know when to give in
Sometimes, the all-nighter isn’t going to work. You might be running off too little sleep in the first place, and your eyes will refuse to stay open no matter how hard you try to focus on the notes in front of you. If this is the case, give it up. Try a power nap and if you still can’t get into gear pack it up and call it a night. Half-baked ideas and sentences that trail off into nothing are not going to fare well with your marker, and sometimes the penalty for handing in the assignment a day late will be worth the extra time. For exams, you’re not going to be getting any marks if you’re dozing straight through it, so take the sleep and hope that something from class has sunk in.
5. Get a good sleep the next night
Pulling constant all-nighters might be a trademark of student life, but you need to give yourself a chance to catch up on some good solid sleep. For the following night, read this for some advice on making sure you’re banking some deep sleep and if you really need to keep yourself up to power through more work, at least take a good nap. Aim for no longer than 30 mins so you can avoid waking up feeling groggy and not knowing what year it is, and have some sort of caffeine boost beforehand. By the time you wake up the caffeine should kick in and keep you going for that little bit longer.