5 Tips If You Absolutely Must Pull an All-Nighter

on December 21, 2013

No matter how studious you are in college, it seems the all-nighter is inevitable. The image of a student hunched over the books or laptop, swilling coffee by the gallon, is as much a part of campus life as the kegger and the homecoming parade.

Experts give any number of reasons to avoid working through the night, whether you are in college or beyond. The inevitable will happen, they admit, but don’t make all-nighters a habit. According to them, persistent sleep deprivation can result in:

• Increased depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorders
• Loss of the mental restorative benefits of sleep and its aid to memory
• Decreased capacity to learn
• Weight gain
• Poor decision making

As much as a student may try to keep regular study hours, though, there will come a time when an all-nighter becomes a must in order to complete an important paper or to study for an unscheduled exam. In that case, there are a few tips to follow that can minimize the damage and maximize the chances that you will actually accomplish the goals you’ve set for the night:

Skip the coffee – Stimulants like Red Bull and the old standard, coffee, can keep you awake but at the cost of a major crash when you halt your intake. Instead, try drinking cold water every half-hour or get a natural energy boost from vitamin C, peanut butter, and sports drinks or other foods with a high amount of electrolytes.

• Take naps – All night doesn’t have to mean ALL night. A little sleep is better than none. So, rest your eyes for a few minutes or an hour at a time.

• Make your move – On the flip side of napping, take a small break each hour and get up and move your body. This can including putting on some music and dancing, stretching, or doing a few pushups.

• Limit distractions – While you’re working, turn off your electronics, including your phone and the television. Don’t check your email. It’s not the perfect time to do a load of laundry or anything else that will take your mind away from the task at hand. Stand up and then sit back down in your chair to refocus yourself.

• Avoid sweets – Just like with the caffeine crash, sugary foods will give you an initial boost, or a sugar high, which then goes away and may make you more drowsy than you had been before. Instead, keep your sugar level on an even keel with apples. But, you could be better off avoiding eating much at all.

Success in college can sometimes involve staying up all night to prepare for class the following day. But all-nighters should always be the exception and not the rule, whether in college or in business.


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