For The Washington Post
All Nighter: A project or event lasting all through the night, typically involving an intense bout of study or work.
It’s late, and your friends have come over to your house. The clock slowly starts its mechanical countdown to midnight as you and your friends huddle under the blankets. They would all feign sleep tonight, in lucid hopes of achieving the legendary (and sometimes, academically necessary) all-nighter.
Deciding some research was needed before diving into this grand all-night adventure, you came across this article. Or perhaps you stumbled across this article by accident while checking out our awesome site. Either way, you’re going to learn how to pull the perfect all nighter in nine simple steps, as well as learn the dangers of this nocturnal routine.
All-nighters do bring their unfortunate side-effects, the most notable of which are…
-Sleep Deprivation: Sleep is very important to the human body; it gives the brain time to process information and store it, it gives your eyes a chance to rest, and plays a critical role in your brain’s thought process and learning (webmd.com).
-Decreased Concentration: Without sleep, the intelligence of the human brain diminishes and can’t work to its full potential.
-Impaired Memory: Memory plays a very big role in everybody’s lives. Complex tasks like memorizing a second language for example, requires a proficient and rested memory which a lack of sleep can damage, even ailing one`s long term memory.
-Cortisol Increases: Cortisol is a hormone the body released in reaction to stress. And being stressed is not fun for you or anybody around you (artofmanliness.com). The effects of cortisol is responsible for many stress related changes in your body. If you are under constant stress negative side effects could include such things as high blood pressure, headaches, stomach pains, and chest pain. (stress.about.com)
If you still feel like an all nighter is needed or just a fun idea, here are the steps you must take in order to have the best all nighter ever.
1. Prepare what’s necessary to get the most out of your all nighter. This can include snacks, games, friends, cozy blankets and a couple horror movies.
When pulling an all nighter, it is absolutely necessary to have something to munch on to keep you awake throughout the night. Believe it or not, the repetitive motion of chewing can actually help stimulate your brain (brainhealthandpuzzles.com). Snack preferences will vary for most, but many people tend to gravitate towards coffee or other caffeinated beverages. “[I would have] energy drinks and small snack,” Senior Kevin Lynch advised,“Anything with caffeine in it, basically sugar and carbs,” Sophomore Gavin West stated. However, Junior Samara Shhadeh has a different preference when it comes to night time snacks “What helps me stay awake is fruits or like cold, fresh things.” Also, keep some games around to renew interest and alertness. Some suggestions would be Twister,a good old game of tag or hide and go seek.
2. Get plenty of rest the night before.
Be sure to get plenty of sleep the night before in order to prevent falling asleep during your all nighter. Getting more sleep before will make you more alert and be able to have fun with your friends or notes while being able to think on your toes.
3. Get some friends to join you, and if you’re studying, don’t forget to gather your notes.
Misery loves company, so loop some of your friends into the fun. They will help keep you busy and take your mind off sleep…hopefully.
4. When people start to get tired, pull out the games. If that’s not working, try watching a scary movie.
This will help keep them awake throughout the long stretches of the night. Also, due to the scary movies, everybody will be too scared to even consider sleep. This your chance to scare the living daylights out of your friends, however don’t go too overboard and remember to keep it safe.
5. Give yourself something to look forward to during the night.
Maybe it’s jumping through the sprinklers or making some highly caffeinated drink. “At 1:00 in the morning my friend and my other friend jumped in the pool…to give ourself like a spike until later in the morning,” Sophomore Daniel Endermann recalls.
6. Keep yourself busy. Munching on some food or drinking something fizzy can help.
7. Listen to some loud energetic music.
Can anybody say DANCE PARTY?! Give yourself a chance to get up and moving and let the blood flow through your veins. Take this chance for a study break or to show off your sweet dance moves to your friends. Maybe even have a little friendly competition.
8. Keep moving.
You have to keep moving throughout the night or else you will just fall asleep and your mission will have failed. So keep moving!
9. Have Fun!
Remember, you chose to pull the all nighter so if you’re in it for the long haul remember to have fun and make the night legendary. Eat your snacks, play your games, beat your friends (or yourself) at a dance off, watch some scary movies and make a memory that will last a lifetime.
Those are the 9 steps to having the best all nighter ever. All of your friends will marvel at your great all-nighter skills or you will be amazed that these steps actually worked. Some last words: If you decide to do something irresponsible during the night, we are not to be held responsible. Follow this advice like an adult, and don’t injure anybody in your endeavors and please, for health reasons only pull an all-nighter when necessary. Otherwise, go out there and have fun!