Well, well, well. You procrastinated. Or maybe you didn’t, and just have a lot of homework (in that case, bravo –– you’re ahead of most of us). But I believe in the power of the all-nighter. As weird as it may seem, a productive all-nighter can make the rest of your week. Nevertheless, they are something you’re probably going to have to pull at least once, and knowing the right way to do so will help tremendously. Here are my best eight tips for a sleepless, but productive night:
1. Get snacks.
Thought I was going to say something like “clean your desk area” for the first tip? Well, nope. You’re going to need something to munch on. From personal experience, chewing on actual food, not just gum, helps to keep you so much more awake. Some of my favorite late-night snacks are air-popped popcorn (not too heavy or fattening), dark chocolate (the sugar and the little bit of caffeine adds a kick) and grapes (try them frozen — you’re welcome).
2. Stay hydrated.
With water, of course, but a little Red Bull or coffee never hurt nobody. Like I said, food will help keep you awake. But getting your hands on a $2-4 can of caffeine is an investment worth making. Besides, all-nighters are what they’re made for. Think of these drinks as extra reinforcement to keep going. ¡Si se puede!
3. Clean your desk.
Now that you have your food and drinks ready, it’s time to getting to the dirty work. Take all those receipts, wrappers, eraser droppings and empty water bottles, and throw them out of sight. An organized desk equals a more efficient study session. There’s a direct correlation, at least in my book.
4. Write out what you need to do.
Take out a piece of paper and write out what you need to do for the night. Actually writing out your goals will help ingrain them into your head and motivate you to accomplish them. Don’t leave anything out: write down what’s due tomorrow, what you want to get done for the rest of the week, etc.
5. Resist that bad idea.
You’ve made up your mind that you’re staying up, so don’t look at your bed anymore. Those comfy pillows and that blissful rest will just have to wait until you’re done! Think of the end result and how good you’re going to feel after finishing everything. Or, think of how stressed and overwhelmed you’re going to feel after if you don’t finish writing that essay, and so on.
6. Keep your phone on, but at a distance.
Again and again, you’ll hear people say “turn off your phone until you’re done with work” or that your phone is a distraction. They’re right. It is a distraction, but every 30 minutes you’re going to want to take a break for five to 10 minutes. It’s OK to grab it and scroll through Instagram, Facebook or Twitter for a bit, but make sure you physically move as well. Pace for a bit, do stretches, maybe even some squats (no one’s judging!).
7. Get ready for the day.
Warning: this is for the truly hardcore. If you really feel sleepy and nothing else is helping, change out of those sweatpants and that hoodie. Put on some jeans, a blouse, socks, shoes, some makeup if you normally wear it, a bra or fresh pair of underwear — you get the deal. The outfit is obviously less comfortable than sweats and a hoodie, and unfortunately, that’s what we’re going for. Comfy is synonymous with sleepy, which is a bad idea for now. Looking presentable and getting ready for the day will have you ready to go to class, which is most likely in three hours. Additionally, doing so will further motivate you to not go to bed only to wake up later and ruin the look.
8. Eye drops.
When you’ve been staring at a computer screen for way too long, or when your eyes just feel heavy and groggy, eye drops are a gift from above. Pop a drop in each eye and you’ll feel 10 times better. Also, beauty tip: your eyes won’t be red or irritated later on during the day. What a plus!