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How to pull an all-nighter, and really get your work done!

Updated on November 19, 2009

Everyone has had one of those nights, when you have a paper or project due the next day and for some reason or another you just didn't have the time or motivation to get it done the day before. Here are some tips to make it through the night and next day with your health, sanity, and career intact.

Step 1- Don't touch that Redbull! Caffeine may be your friend in the morning or when you need a pick me up, but for long term alertness, energy drinks will give you a high then leave you down and dry. Caffeine and sugar rushes are sure to have you wiped out and dehydrated completely unable to keep going.

Step 2- Exercise. Are your eyelids starting to get heavy or is your mind wandering? Get up and move! 5 minutes of jumping jacks, push-ups, or dancing to your iTunes can get your blood pumping and wake your brain up. Endorphins released from exercise make it hard to sleep, so frequent bursts of them through out the night will help.

Step 3- Snack right. Pizza bites and cookies are high in carbs which will tire you out. Opt for proteins high in protein and choose only stable sugars, like an apple and peanut butter or some beef jerky.

Step 4 - Turn off your wireless card if possible. If not, set a timer next to your computer for two minute intervals, if the buzzer goes off and your on Facebook, get back to work! Many over-nighters fail because although the person is awake, no work actually gets done.

Step 5- Stay in the light! Don't let darkness start kicking in those pesky little sleep hormones. Bright lights are your friend, they confuse your brain and block your circadian rhythms. Oddly enough if you start getting really tired shine a bright light on the back of your knees and it will give you an extra burst of endorphins.

Step 6- Change your environment from time to time. Switch rooms or if you live on a college campus switch buildings if it gets to be too boring.

Step 7 - Fighting off the 4 am drop. If you absolutely NEED that caffeine now is the time to start using it - but only in the form of cold teas or coffee drinks and not sodas or energy drinks. Once you start that caffeine you will be dependent on a steady drip for the rest of the night and next day.

Step 8- DON"T LAY DOWN! Don't do it! You'll drift away to dream land faster that you can blink an eye. Keep up, stand up as much as you can. Do some more push ups if you need.

Step 9 - Start turning up the music get as laud as you can without disturbing anyone else. Jam out to that pop music with a fast beat or rock music. Get jumping.

Step 10- Well you've made it through the night and your work is done. Congrats - now you still have at least 8 hours of work before you can sleep. Start a slow but steady stream of caffeine. Have a high protein breakfast.

Step 11- Get someone, ANYONE, to proofread your paper before you print it and turn it in. Sleepiness equals sloppiness. And your paper is probably in need of at least one spelling or grammar revision.

Step 12 - Print it and get to work/school safely. If your very tired, don't drive. Take public transport or carpool. Nothing will be worse than adding a car crash or death to your reasons of why that paper didn't get in on time. If you absolutely must turn it in electronically, don't risk your life for it. There will always be other colleges and other jobs.

Step 13- Keep up the high proetin snacks and low slow caffeine. About 2 hours before work is up you can amp it up with an AMP or Energy drink if you need it.

Step 14- Go home and sleep. You deserve it.


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    • Geek_luv profile image

      Geek_luv 5 years ago from Muncie

      Harshitha, my suggestion would be to try to hide the reading light under a blanket, or maybe stay the night at a friends house when you need to cram, just make sure that your friend wouldn't bother you. And keep in mind, its better to study in advance than to cram the night before. :)

    • profile image

      harshitha 5 years ago


    • profile image

      the fix 7 years ago

      I think this hub will also be useful for zombie and pod people invasions. Great advice, how on earth did you discover the lights behind the knees trick? Keep hubbing I love your writing and topics!