Tag Archives | all-nighter

Image by Veronica Stewart

Image by Veronica Stewart

The first thing you need to know about pulling an all-nighter is that you shouldn’t. Honestly, if you have any other options, don’t do it. An all-night cram session is never a substitute for a good study strategy. Whether you have had past success with this last minute method or not, it is always risky, both for your grades and your health. However, as a university student myself, I know there times when this technique, though frowned upon and often ineffective, is unavoidable. Midterms and exams tend to cluster and no matter how accommodating your professors may be, there just aren’t enough hours in the day (or week. Or semester for that matter). Fear not – I am not here to shame you for procrastinating or criticize your FOMO (fear of missing out)-induced overscheduling. I’m here to help you survive the night. Everyone has their own style, but these are some of the tips and tricks students swear by to stay awake.

  1. Caffeinate: If you are currently attending a post-secondary institution, this should come as no surprise. Caffeine is like oxygen to the academic. So if it works, why mess with a good thing? Coffee, soda, or chocolate – get it any way you like, but remember to pace yourself. Too much of this stimulant will start to wear away at your ability to concentrate.
    Tip: Try tea. Its health benefits may be able to offset the bodily strain of a sleepless night.

  3. Drink: Water, of course. What were you thinking? Staying hydrated is essential to fighting off the detrimental “I’ll just close my eyes for a few seconds” urge. It is also said to increase alertness and improve your focus.
    Tip: Protect the environment. Always use a reusable water bottle.

  5. Move: Do jumping jacks. Run on the spot or attempt some push-ups. A few exercises can be just the kick start you need after hours of minimal movement. Get your blood pumping and give yourself a much deserved mental break.
    Tip: Keep it quiet. Your sleeping roommates will thank you.

  7. Keep it light: Sleep is your body’s biological response to the dark of night. The darker your workspace, the harder it will be to fight this impulse. The solution? Turn on the lights and keep them on. Brightening your room will trick your body, and thus you, into thinking you need to stay awake.
    Tip: To maximize light output, remove the shades from your lamps if possible.

  9. Set an alarm: It’s time to face the facts. No matter what you do, you may still fall asleep, and that’s okay, as long as you get up in time to write your exam, hand in your essay or fulfill whatever other obligation got you into this bind in the first place. Setting at least one alarm for the next morning is not negotiable.
    Tip: Set your alarm for an hour or so earlier than you need to be up. That way you still have a chance to finish what dosing off may have prevented you from doing the previous night.

Image by bibliothekarin, Creative Commons

Image by bibliothekarin, creativecommons.org

You get home from school and check all your syllabi, only to discover that you have a big project due the next day. You haven’t even started it yet. What is there left to do but pull an all-nighter?
All-nighters are common, with many people experiencing them throughout their university careers. They may not be your preferred mode of doing things, but sometimes they’re your only option. If you’ve never pulled an all-nighter before, you may be anxious about it. Never fear. All-nighters usually go swimmingly, if you keep a few things in mind.

Some tips to remember when pulling an all-nighter are:

  • Stock up on caffeine. You’ll be staying up all night, and you don’t know what time you’ll need a caffeine kick at – your nearest coffee shop may not be open. Remember not to overdo it on the coffee, as it can have side effects that may adversely affect your work (and your health).
  • Manage your time wisely. Plan how will you spend your time. Avoid taking breaks that are too long – remember, if you’re pulling an all-nighter, that means you have a very short amount of time to complete an assignment. Taking long breaks runs the risk of not completing everything by morning.
  • Avoid talking to friends. This may be too distracting for the short period of time you have to complete things.
  • Listen to music. This will make the whole process much more enjoyable for you. You may just find yourself being more productive, because you’re more focused on what you’re doing instead of thinking about how quiet and cozy your house seems.
  • Take a short nap once you’re done working. If you have time, why not take a nap? It will leave you refreshed in the morning and may even make the all-nighter process more bearable for you. On the same note:
  • Don’t take a nap if you’re not done the assignment. When you stay up all night, your body is extremely tired, and may not wake up when prompted. Don’t risk falling asleep for the whole night.
  • Set multiple alarms. It is very possible that you will be so tired the next morning that you miss the first alarm. How awful would it be to stay up all night finishing an assignment and not wake up in time to hand it in?
  • Proofread in the morning after you’ve taken a nap, had a shower, or downed a cup of coffee. You’ll be more alert, making it less likely for you to skim over errors.

You may be nervous about pulling an all-nighter if you’ve never done it before. Don’t fret. All-nighters can go well, if you plan them well. Of course there are drawbacks like losing out on sleep, lacking in the quality of work and the possibility of not being done on time, but unfortunately sometimes they’re your only choice. Remember: all-nighters don’t have to be a nightmare. They can be fun, if done right. Cheers and happy studying!