Here’s the thing: all-nighters are not usually worth the hype. I know, saying that is probably not the sexiest way to kick off an article called “All-Nighter Survival Guide.” But when I pulled my first one in my last year of high school, it definitely didn’t reap the benefits I thought it would. Instead, my all-nighter left me feeling half-asleep and unproductive the rest of the week, and my assignment turned out messy and half-finished. Unless you clicked on this article out of desperation, get out while you still can! Alright, for the few still lingering here, get ready. Here are five things to help you pull your first all-nighter in high school or university.
1. Stock up
To ace that paper or exam and come out of an all-nighter feeling alive and decently functioning, you need to prepare yourself for the experience. Before it gets dark out and the local Shoppers Drug Mart closes, arm yourself with an arsenal of all-nighter survival weapons: food, specifically fruits and protein-filled snacks, such as almonds and peanut butter, and water, are essential. Caffeinated beverages (my favourites are earl grey teas and matcha lattes) are also must-haves if you want to stay present and not half-asleep the whole time. If you’re not a caffeine drinker, chocolate bars should also do the trick.
2. Create a playlist
Admittedly, not everyone can study with music emanating from their iPhone in the background. For some reason, I can’t study without music flooding my ears. Regardless, from my experience, it’s always good to have a playlist ready to go for your all-nighter, even if just to pump you up during study breaks. When I pulled my first all-nighter a few years ago, my go-toes were songs from the Hamilton: An American Musical soundtrack. I know… it’s 2018…. You’re welcome to judge me. But if musicals are your thing, I’d still shamelessly recommend Hamilton.
3. Get a bit of exercise
When you’re about to collapse and crumble into your worn-out already-coffee-stained chair, it can’t hurt to get the adrenaline flowing again. Doing a few push-ups or jumping jacks when you’re on the brink of losing the all-nighter battle to sleep can refresh and invigorate both your body and brain. I’d recommend “working out” in regular intervals rather than at one time so you don’t get too tired-out by the physical activity. It may be hard to find the motivation to dump your schedule and get your heart speeding up, but it’ll feel worth it when you’re not fighting your eyelids to keep them from closing in.
4. Don’t take nap breaks
Other articles online may tell you otherwise. But when I pulled my first all-nighter, taking a “nap break” only made me more inclined to sleep and ditch and all-nighter all-together. Once you crash on your bed, even if just for a few minutes, it’ll be insanely difficult to get up again. I’ve been there. Nevertheless, it’s probably a good idea to get a decent amount of sleep the night before the all-nighter or during the day-of so that your brain does not get completely crippled by imminent sleep deprivation. As per usual, I speak from experience.
5. Find an all-nighter buddy
More often than not, when we’re feeling lazy and ready to abandon some kind of pursuit, we need other people to nudge us to stay on track and reaffirm our commitment to the task. And this doesn’t just apply to a gym membership. Getting a friend to join your all-nighter adventure can be an awesome way of helping you stay awake and brilliantly productive.
If you’ve gotten this far in the article, you’re likely set on pulling your first all-nighter. If that’s the case, remember to relax and get lots of sleep the following day. Good luck on your first, and hopefully last, all-nighter mission. You’re gonna need it.