Fairly self-explanatory; an all-nighter is basically when you stay up all night to finish some work you should’ve done a week ago. It is a fact that during your time as a university student you will have to pull a few all-nighters. It isn’t the healthiest of practices but even the best, most organized student will find there simply isn’t enough hours in the day so will find themselves nicking a few from the night. It’s sort of a rite of passage, an initiation, if you like. So seeing as every student will be pulling an all-nighter at some point, we thought we should tell you how to do it right.
First things first; DO NOT use an all-nighter to study for an exam. It won’t work and you will fail. If you really have no other time before your test, the best thing to do is pull in some intense study hours in the library until 9 or 10pm and then get a good night’s sleep. You won’t revise as much content but what you do study will have a better chance of staying in your brain with the help of some good sleep. The memory isn’t designed to remember material that’s been crammed in over a few hours so there’s no point in trying. Trust me, I’ve been there, done that and got the ‘epic fail’ t-shirt. All-nighters are best used if you have an essay that needs finishing (or starting) or any other sort of practical project with an imminent deadline.
How to do it: PPR
Preparation – There’s no chance of staying awake if you’ve just got out of 2 lectures and a quick drink with your mates. Schedule it in advance – get a few extra hours of sleep that morning or bank some in the days before it. Take a 90 minute power nap around 1 and 3pm. Work out snacks and drinks beforehand. Avoid carbs, sugar and energy drinks – you’ll crash later. Protein rich foods like nuts and meat are good. You’ll also need water; tea or coffee and multivitamins. Try to avoid caffeinated drinks 2 days before – caffeine will have much stronger effect that way. 1 cup every couple hours is enough.
Perspiration – Your body will be crying (in spirit), desperate to get some rest. Have someone with you or group together, this will keep your brain active and you can keep each other awake. Stop every hour and get your blood pumping with a quick walk/jump around. No matter what you do, DON’T stop. It will only take a second for your brain to trick you into going to bed and no matter how many ghosts you think live in the hallways, they aren’t going to finish your assignment for you. Power through; don’t think about the finish line just focus on the hurdles one at a time.
Restoration – The hard part is over and you are still alive (barely). Now you need sleep. If you can, go to sleep as soon as you’re done and don’t set an alarm, just let your body wake naturally. If your schedule is too tight, grab an extra couple where you can. Sleep a couple hours early (but not before 9pm) or sleep an hour later. Do this until you’re back to normal (ish). Drink plenty of water and don’t do anything strenuous (like driving) for the next 24 hours – it’s dangerous to you and anyone around you.
Now you have all the steps on how to pull a successful all-nighter. Remember; don’t use this as your regular work routine. All-nighters are not healthy and could lead to serious problems in the future. Only use it when you have no other solution. You can’t avoid it so may as well do it right… Good luck!