Once in a blue moon, we find ourselves not having enough hours in a day to complete all the tasks we have set for ourselves to finish. Whether it is a result of procrastination, or simply the byproduct of having too much too do in a short amount of time, we find ourselves prolonging our days and going to bed later and later in the night. With sleeping schedules becoming more and more haphazard, it is easy to become more and more overwhelmed with work, and neglect some of the tasks altogether. And then it hits us. The, sometimes, inevitable solution becomes apparent as we become pressed against a looming deadline – an all-nighter can provide us with that precious extra time we want and need. An all-nighter is the only viable outcome.
When the long night’s sky finally begins to clear up with a rosy sunrise, our tasks will have already moved much closer to completion. However, we may now find ourselves not having enough time to relax and get some sleep. If we have a fully loaded schedule ahead of us, sleep may not be in the cards at all and we have to find a way of keeping ourselves from falling asleep amidst the hustle of the daily activities. Even before we reach the finish line, often signified by the sunrise at the end of a sleepless night, we need to find effective ways to keep ourselves from dozing off during those rough late hours.
Various illegal stimulants, like speed or meth, can keep people up for hours, but who wants to go to jail for drug possession in the name of work? More realistically, there are several ways to stay awake, some more effective than others, as the effectiveness varies from person to person. There are several factors that go into play as well, like location, company, determination and even chemical assistance, all within legal limits, of course. There are also a few obvious no-no’s, or things not to do, when trying to pull an all-nighter. For example, if trying to stay up and study for a next day’s final exam, there are better locations to do it than a bed. A body associates that specific piece of furniture with a specific task, that is sleeping. Attempting to spend a night awake in bed is a tough challenge and can hardly be accomplished.
Everyone has their comfort zone when it comes to studying or working at night. While some people are more motivated when they are studying at the library, others prefer all-night coffee shops or student study centers. Other times, necessity and convenience puts some places above the rest. For example, if we are working on a group project in an office, it is better to work on it at a location that is agreeable for everyone, due to the convenience and comfort of other group members.
If we are planning to stay up all night, it is a good idea to find a buddy who is also thinking about spending the night studying. Having some company to keep us awake during the night is better than attempting to get through the night alone. A study or work partner can serve as a big motivational tool and can help us be productive.
Caffeine is another picker-upper that can create a boost of energy in the middle of the night. Double shots of espresso, triple mocha lattes, or, to keep it basic, cups of black coffee can do the trick. Too much caffeine, however, can make some people jittery and unable to concentrate for long periods of time. For some people soda or sugar-filled candy can also help to stay up at night. Sucrose can give a nice energy rush, though it may not be so good for our teeth, if eaten in excess. An overall suggestion here is to keep our body’s sugar stable, which can prevent it from waning when we get sleepy.
If, in the middle of the night, there is a point where we might feel like we are starting to nod off, it may be a good idea to take a break and go for a short walk. Cold air may be just the remedy for someone who is feeling exhausted and overworked. A brisk walk can also serve as a much needed break to keep us from overdosing on work and clear our mind in the process.
Taking a cold shower is another way to perk up in the middle of the night. Nothing says “Wake up!” like a cold stream of water down our shoulders and backs. An unpleasant experience, of course, it, nevertheless, wakes up our senses and makes us more alert. Without such a rush of adrenaline, our senses might all subdue to a dormitory state and the next thing we know, we are asleep under a pile or our books or paperwork.
If working in a place that allows a certain amount of noise, unlike the library for example, music or television can serve to provide a sufficient amount of background noise to keep us from passing out. Whether it is an iPod filled with house music, acid rock or hip hop – something upbeat can create an uplifting working atmosphere. Faster music generally works better than power ballads or soft jazz, but, again, this all depends on an individual and their taste in music. Similarly, if work involves fairly brain-dead tasks, running TV in the background can serve as an entertaining distraction and make the night less painful.
Finally, it is important to note that pulling all-nighters should never become a regular habit. Ultimately, our bodies all require and deserve to get adequate amounts of sleep every night. Regular all-nighters can cause lasting damages to our health and, ultimately, diminish our work or school performance. In moderation and by keeping our bodies prepared for those late nighters, we can stay on top of our game, at work, in school and otherwise.