The proper all-nighter

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Tess Riecke, Staff Writer

We all know that pulling all-nighters is terrible. You really don’t learn anything from cramming and it makes you tired.

But sometimes you just have to stay up until the late hours (or early hours, depending on how you look at it) of the night to study, work on a project or make an article deadline.

There are healthier ways to pull an all-nighter than to chug a pot full of coffee or drink a 32 oz. of Monster or Red Bull. Pulling the proper all-nighter takes some planning and maybe some grocery shopping.

First thing you should do is take a nap before trying to stay awake all night. If you try to take a nap when you are already working, then you run into the risk of sleeping too long and not getting as much work done.

The length of your nap needs to be determined by how tired you already are. For a quick energy boost to increase your concentration, do not nap any longer than 30 minutes, preferably keeping it capped at 20 minutes.

If you are incredibly exhausted and you know you need to sleep longer, nap for an hour and a half. That way you can have a full REM cycle of sleep and wake up feeling like you can take on that ten-page paper. If you sleep any longer or wake up before the 90 minutes is up, then you may wake up feeling even more tired than you were before.

Regarding diet, don’t fill your tummy with excess carbs and sugar. For the initial hour you might be bouncing off the walls; however, once the hour is up, you will have hardly any energy.

Instead, eat foods high in protein to keep from feeling sluggish: peanut butter, jerky, almonds and protein bars or shakes.

When you do pull an all-nighter, do not change up your caffeine drinking habits. If you drink coffee, soda or energy drinks every day, this is not the time to stop or else you could end up getting withdrawal symptoms that can include bad headaches.

Also, this isn’t the time to start drinking a pot of coffee if you don’t normally drink caffeine. This can mess up your sleeping schedule and make it harder to actually fall asleep later on when you are finished with finals or essays.

The best way to work in some sleep during the night is to sleep for a few hours after working. If you haven’t finished your work but just have to get some sleep, then set your alarm to wake you up at least two hours before you go to class. Set your alarm any later and you risk the potential of oversleeping.

Sleeping can also help get your creative juices flowing again if you were stuck on an idea during the night.

Feeling anxious about the essay or test? Sleeping can reduce anxiety and help you keep a clear head when you try to tackle the task in the morning.

There have been times that I have been super close to finishing an essay, but I am too tired to finish. However, I know I should just crank out the last few paragraphs. Instead of stopping and taking a quick nap, I do some push-ups (which is very rare for me) to wake me back up.

Doing some periodic exercise will get your blood pumping and keep you awake to knock out the essay. You don’t have to go outside and run a mile, even if that is a healthy way to procrastinate. Do simple things like some push-ups, jumping jacks or running in place.

A more relaxing way to get your blood flowing is to do some yoga. By doing so, you will also calm any anxiety while waking up your body.

So next time you have to stay up all night to finish homework, be smart about it.