Pulling an Emergency All-Nighter? Here Are Some Tips for Success

Frantically, I glance at the clock, which reads 7:00 PM. A wave of anxiety hits me as I realize that I haven’t studied at all for my big exam tomorrow.

I grab my phone and begin texting: Guys, I literally haven’t even taken a look at the study guide… I don’t know how I let this happen!

Suddenly, a series of buzzes and rings follow and I read through my responses, which consisted of friends who sadly agreed and others who laughed and went, looks like you’ll be pulling an all-nighter. 

Obviously, the situation isn’t ideal or at all recommended, but it’s pretty damn relatable. My personal opinion? (And from personal experience): Please plan your time accordingly in the future. You’ll save yourselves a lot of stress and headaches. 

But in the event of an absolute emergency, I’ve done some research and efficiently compiled them into one article for you all, collegiates! 


Before You Even Get Started… Prepare.


Take 10 minutes to grab some snacks, which you can use to quell your hunger as you study or to use as “study breaks.”  Taking breaks is imperative to your success. Pushing yourself too long will make it harder to concentrate. Snacking rather than eating a large meal will help you deal with drowsiness later on in the night. Remember to fill up your water bottle as well!


Another tip I’ve found to be helpful is to choose your outfit and environment well. Wearing pajamas and getting cozy in your bed may be your demise. The goal here is to keep you awake, so curling up in your PJ's under blankets will only make this more difficult. 


Wear an outfit you would wear to class, complete with shoes, and go to a place other than your bedroom. My go-to study spot is the library: a quiet environment where there are also plenty of other people studying. A dormitory common room is also a great choice for those who’d rather stay closer to their building.

Is Caffeine Your Friend or Foe?


As an avid coffee drinker, I would naturally go reaching for a large coffee in order to complete this task at hand. But there’s more to this than just chugging as much as you can… Believe it or not, it’s important to plan your caffeine intake!


For inexperienced coffee drinkers, be sure to stay away from the coffee until it’s crunch time, or for when you actually begin to feel tired. Drinking coffee too early will cause the buzz to wear off too early and a “study crash” to occur. I know it’s taboo to drink coffee at 10:00 PM, but you need to do what you can. 


For all of you caffeine addicts (and I’m right there with you), have your ritual morning coffee. Who wants to deal with a coffee-lacking headache all day? However, hold off on your afternoon espresso and turn it into a study-time jump start. This way, you’ll begin your crash after your learning is finished. 


Navigating a Nap


Now here’s a tricky topic. You must be careful about how you take your naps throughout your study session, as this could cause you to fall into a deep sleep and end your efforts to cram. According to personal experience and research from Rosie Osmun’s article on Amerisleep, I suggest not going over 30 minutes for your power nap. This will ensure that you feel recharged rather than drowsy afterwards.  


Although getting through an all-nighter can be stressful and tiring, hopefully these tips will offer some sort of support to you, collegiates


So find a group of study buddies and get everything you’ll need, since it will certainly be a long night. Good luck!

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