Many a student will know the struggle of having more work than hours in the day. Like me, during the prickly end of the semester/term, you might find that you’re gearing up for an all-nighter to catch up on some work, deeply regretting the massive Netflix binge that you pulled yesterday instead of doing anything productive. Sometimes, it’s inevitable that you will have to push through the night, bleary eyed, just to get shit done.
1. Go in with a game plan
Don’t decide to pull an all-nighter without some idea of what you need to get done. If you have a massive list of shit to do, figure out what’s most important. 40% essay due the next day as well as a lab report due the day after and a couple of bits of homework chucked in there too? Just focus on getting the essay done. The more work you give yourself to do the harder it will be to actually get anything done and you’ll feel like you’re running towards a finish line that isn’t getting any closer.
2. Don’t fall for the ‘I’ll do it in the morning’
When you’re starting to fall into the gales of sleep deprivation you’ll probably start making these sorts of promises with yourself, ones like ‘If I go to bed now I’ll get up early and finish it in the morning’. You know you’re lying- once your head hits the pillow you’re down and out, so don’t trick yourself into falling for these false promises.
3. Stay away from your bed
It’s tempting to set up shop in the middle of your bed, cocooned by study notes and blankets. Don’t do it- you’ll find yourself five minutes in and fast asleep. Get out of your bed and out of your room if you can. You want to be comfortable, but not comfortable enough to fall asleep, and when you start getting to the early hours of the morning even your bedroom floor will seem like a good place for a nap.
4. Know when to give in
Sometimes, the all-nighter isn’t going to work. You might be running off too little sleep in the first place, and your eyes will refuse to stay open no matter how hard you try to focus on the notes in front of you. If this is the case, give it up. Try a power nap and if you still can’t get into gear pack it up and call it a night. Half-baked ideas and sentences that trail off into nothing are not going to fare well with your marker, and sometimes the penalty for handing in the assignment a day late will be worth the extra time. For exams, you’re not going to be getting any marks if you’re dozing straight through it, so take the sleep and hope that something from class has sunk in.
5. Get a good sleep the next night
Pulling constant all-nighters might be a trademark of student life, but you need to give yourself a chance to catch up on some good solid sleep. For the following night, read this for some advice on making sure you’re banking some deep sleep and if you really need to keep yourself up to power through more work, at least take a good nap. Aim for no longer than 30 mins so you can avoid waking up feeling groggy and not knowing what year it is, and have some sort of caffeine boost beforehand. By the time you wake up the caffeine should kick in and keep you going for that little bit longer.