All-nighters are the stuff of school. Any student has stayed up all night or through the wee hours of the morning to study, or finish assignments, reports, presentations, and projects. These bouts of sleeplessness can very well occur in one’s working life as well. 

Sleeping for an hour or two or none at all seems effortless if you are at the pinnacle of youth, with the natural energy and enthusiasm. Of course, the effects of burning the midnight oil are hardly encouraging. As experts warn, chronic sleep deprivation has an impact on stress, weight, memory, focus, and mood.

Your best bet is to not make a habit out of all-nighters. But in case you need to pull one, count on these tips to succeed.

Sleep before and After

Catch as many Zs a day or so before going all-out on an overnight session. Sleep is the best way to combat the anticipated lack of it. Your body and mind will be more rested and ready, fueling your alertness and focus throughout the night.

When your exams or deadlines are over, add hours to your sleeping time to settle your short-term debt.

Snack Up on Protein

You have to eat to concentrate, but a full meal with lots of carbs won’t do because it’s a recipe for sleep. Accordingly, you can go for snacks to ward off hunger and keep you awake at the same time. 

Protein-rich foods serve the perfect solution. Chicken, tuna, and turkey, for example, have tryptophan, which helps produce serotonin. The neurotransmitter helps alter your mood, clear your head, and boost energy, according to WebMD. Sample these protein-high snacks.

Drink Up Your Coffee

Coffee, tea, or a reliable source of caffeine provides energy and concentration. But here are a few pointers. Spread out 400 milligrams of caffeine, or about four cups of brewed coffee, which is the ideal amount for adults, throughout the day and night. Drink your cup with snacks to delay the release of caffeine, and hold on to its effect for longer.

Too much coffee, however, can make you feel jittery and anxious, not the mental state you are aiming. So once you have finished your fill, drink lots of water to hydrate and stay focused. Steer clear of energy drinks because their levels of caffeine can be toxic, plus they are sugary.

Turn On the Lights

Light and darkness are closely associated with circadian rhythm, and for this exercise, keep the light on in your room. For best results, find a light source that is bright to mimic the sunlight. That way, your body will perceive it is as daytime and suppress the urge to fall asleep.

Relatedly, adjust the room temperature to make it ideal for studying and not sleeping.

Take Short Naps

It’s natural to feel tired at some point in the all-nighter. Naps, as strategically spaced, can restore your vigor and focus.

How short or long should you rest? The quickest would be 10 to 20 minutes with 90 minutes as the most extended nap and is equivalent to a full cycle of sleep, according to a UBC infographic.

Move Around

Drowsiness is your foe, and something as simple as chewing gum can ward it off. Still, you need to stand and do something to get your blood moving and your mind active. Try stretching, taking a walk, pacing back and forth, and doing simple exercises. Some people sneak out for a quick gym session.

Breaks will give a much-needed jolt to the body and maybe catharsis to continue with your tasks.

Stay Awake, Productive with Gadgets

Your smartphone and computer emit blue light, which can suppress melatonin and make it hard for you to fall asleep. That explains why some leave their computer screens on while they study at night.

Surely, you won’t be using your computer as a mere prop. For a productive session with your laptop and its multiple peripherals, try using a USB docking station. It can be a powerful USB 3.1 Gen 2 hub that allows for faster transfer of data and charging these devices with power delivery. As time is a luxury, you will need all the help you can get to finish and probably sleep a bit before heading out for the big day. If you have more than 24 hours a day, you don’t have to sacrifice your bedtime to accomplish high grades or goals at work. But the reality and your level of motivation are far from perfect. You can only prepare for any sleepless night and keep all tools at hand to make the best out of the situation.

Charles Bell, 26, based in Dyer, Indiana, is a student at Purdue University Calumet where he has received multiple academic honors. He is currently studying Information Systems and Computer Programming...

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