A Healthier Way to Pull an All-Nighter

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Working all night
By Alek S.

We’ve all had nights where we have to buckle down and finish a ton of work before the morning. Usually, sleep is but a distant hope on those nights, and we’re aware that we’re going to have to go until the sun comes up to finish the momentous task that lies in front of us. While an effective all-nighter can do wonders for your workload, it also takes a pretty horrible toll on your mental and physical health if you do it all the time. Even just one all-nighter can have tons of unintended health consequences. Here are some tips on how you can pull a healthier all-nighter…

Take a nap beforehand

Before heading into an all-nighter, you need to make sure that you’ve stocked up on an ample amount of sleep. If you’ve been sleeping fairly regularly and have gotten the recommended amount of sleep for several nights, then you have a lot less to worry about when you need to stay up for an entire night. Ideally, taking a power nap in the day leading up to your all-nighter will give you an extra boost that gets you through the night, and makes it much easier to resist the temptation of sleep when 3 AM rolls around.

Eat healthy power snacks

If you are planning to eat a bunch of junk food as you stay up through the night, then you are far less likely to be successful, and are going to feel downright horrible the next day. Instead, stock up on small portions of food that are heavy in lean protein and carbohydrates. Spread this food throughout the night, in order to maintain your energy levels. Eating one big meal that you expect to carry you through the night is going to eventually lead to a major energy crash. The same thing will happen if you eat a ton of sugar.

Don’t caffeine overload

Another myth about all-nighters is that you should be consuming caffeine in large quantities. Before you down an entire pot of coffee in an hour, however, you should rethink your strategy. Caffeine overloads eventually lead to major crashes, and are going to make it difficult to focus and concentrate, once the jittery effects of lots of caffeine begin to take hold. Do give yourself some caffeine for a boost of energy to carry you through the night, but only drink one coffee, or maybe two. Instead, drink lots of water, which helps the caffeine go further in your system and keeps you hydrated, which is crucial to maintain energy.

Girl at desk

Add in a little physical activity

Don’t just sit down for an entire night and try to focus, this is going to cause your mind to sleep away and make it difficult to stay up all night. Staring at a screen continuously is also going to be a major pain on your eyes. Make sure to get up and move around, every now and then. Find a physical activity that isn’t going to take a bunch of energy or make you tired, and then do that activity around every hour or two. This helps your energy stay up, and keeps you from getting bogged down.

Avoid the myth of study drugs

One way that many college students attempt to pull all-nighters is by using what are frequently referred to as “study drugs.” Study drugs are substances like adderall and ritalin that help people get a boost of energy and focus on one thing for a long period of time. The effects of these substances make them useful for someone who wants to stay up all night to work, but it comes at a terrible cost.

Man at computer in despair

These stimulants have horrific side effects, and can even become addictive. People who use study drugs are more likely to get caught in a pattern where they continually need to take these substances to focus, and can easily get caught up in harder substances. If you take some of the steps above, you can easily get through an all-nighter without resorting to study drugs.

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