Anyone can plan an all-nighter for different reasons, but the most common amongst high school and college students is when they know that they need the night to finish school work. It goes unsaid that the need to pull an all-nighter is a result of bad habits, procrastination, or bad decisions. So when it is an absolute necessity, here are five ways to get you through the night.
1) Nap ahead of time
Taking a nap before an all-nighter is the best preparation you can do for your body. The more sleep you can get in advance, the better rested and prepared your body will be for the long night.
Taking one before a work binge is more effective than taking a nap when you’re already exhausted. When you decide on ‘just taking a quick nap’ in the middle of the night, you might not wake up for hours, or you might even oversleep.
2) Bright lights
Working in bright light is an effective way to stay awake. The color of your light can always play a part in varying alertness.
“Research shows a blue-tinted light will wake you up best, such as a blue-LED light, yellow light is not good for staying awake. It relaxes us, so avoid it if you want to work through the night,”- neuroscientist Dr. Joëlle Adrien.
However, staring at a bright screen tires out your eyes quickly. You may also notice that your eyes feel drier due to stress and lack of sleep. Any extra brightness is only going to make it worse.
Turn down the brightness of your device.
3) Stay uncomfortable
A little bit of stimulation to the pain receptors keep you more alert. There are a lot of things you can do to keep yourself from being comfortable and relaxed. Pinching your self is effective in causing small discomfort to your body. Other options include lowering the room temperature, or slashing cold water on your face whenever necessary.
If possible, work in settings that you do not normally sleep at. So stay away from your bedroom or couches, and opt for places like a 24-hour coffee shop, or even the kitchen counter.
4) Caffeine, water, protein, and gum
Caffeine, protein and energy drinks are obvious staples when extra energy is needed. However, using them the wrong way can result in a worst crash.
Your body needs something to burn to last the night. Besides tons and tons of hydration for your body, you also need protein consumption to help your body exert energy. So grab an extra meal or snacks high in protein instead of snacks of sugar or carbs. Beef jerky and almonds are great options to last you the night.
5) Stay active
Getting your blood flowing is a signal to the brain that the body needs to stay alert and focused, which is why doing periodic exercises helps maintain concentration. A quick 5-20-minute work out or even doing your work standing up can help maintain body posture as well as neuroplasticity. Neuro plasticity refers to when exercise boosts the brain’s ability to learn and retain information. A full body workout is not recommended, as you will become quickly exhausted.
Dealing with the morning after.
Okay, you survived the night. Your research paper is done, your presentation is completed, or whatever it is that you needed to do. You feel much better about meeting your deadlines, and it is now to get your body back on track.
The day after is going to a torture, and you will be tempted to crash as soon as you get home, but in order to maintain a sleep pattern, wait until only a couple hours before your usual sleeping time. It is helpful to nap during the day, stay hydrated, and eat well.
In the end, the only recovery technique you should ever need is to stay on a normal schedule. Pulling all-nighters can only do harm to your body, especially when done frequently. Your long term memory and productivity can be seriously weakened in the process.
That being said, the best advice to pulling an all-nighter is to not do it, but when you do, remember to follow these 5 important pieces of advice.
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