How To Pull All Nighters

How to Pull An All NighterFor a college student learning how to pull all nighters effectively can be the difference between study success and study failure.

You have a report due at 8 AM and you have just started. Your exam is in 10 hours and you need to study more. These are situations nobody wants to be in, but try as we may they do come up.

Your battle will be with your mind. It knows it is time to sleep and will try everything to get you to do so.

So what are the best ways to keep yourself awake and alert so when you have to pull an all nighters you can still get work done and retain the knowledge?

How To Pull All Nighters

Eat a meal – If you are like most people you are on a 3 meal a day diet. By extending your day you will require another meal. Do not to eat fatty foods that will make you sleepy like a burger and fries. Foods that are high in carbohydrates such as cereal or pasta will give you the energy you need to keep you going.

Drink fluids – The natural inclination is to load up on caffeine and/or energy drinks. This is okay, but you must do it in moderation. Too much caffeine will get your heart racing and even break your concentration level. Some green tea would be a good alternative.
Take a shower – a nice cold shower will help to refresh you when you start feeling tired. Even if you just wash your face off it will help.
Take breaks – you will want to take breaks to avoid fatigue. DO NOT TAKE NAPS. Instead go for a brisk walk or do some other sort of activity that will keep your mind and body active. Walking will get the blood flowing and help recharge you.
Listen to music – the louder the better to keep you alert. Of course be respectful of others and do not keep them awake as well. Use your headphones.

Any of these ideas should help keep you awake and alert. If you expect to get done then there are some things you should not do.

  • Do not lie down even for a second. Your body will react as if it is time to go to sleep even though you may not intend to. The next thing you know the sun is up and your work is not done.
  • Keep your work area and if possible the room bright. Do not sit in the dark with a single desk light. Your mind is already triggered to want to go to sleep. Keep it alert by keeping the lights on.
  • Keep it cool! Crank down the heat and keep the room cool. A warm room will get you cozy and sleepy.

Hopefully you do not have to pull all nighters often. They are very unhealthy and lower your immune system making you more likely to get sick. Do everything you can to avoid them. Studies have shown sleep is very important to the learning process. One study showed that you will retain more knowledge of what you have studied the next day after a good nights sleep. Sleep is when the mind processes what it did during the day. All of the studying gets filed away in your sleep so it is there when you need it.

What are some of your tips for pulling all nighters? Share them in a comment.


  1. Aiden Eades says:

    I’ve always found a couple things have helped me with all nighters.

    1: Don’t eat a full meal. Snacks work better. You’re more likely to fall asleep on a full stomach.

    2: Chew gum, don’t know why but it keeps you awake and slightly more alert.

    3: Eliminate distractions. The more tired you are, the more your mind wonders. Eventually you’ll be more interested in the angle of a piece of paper on your desk, rather than your actual work.


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