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A Realistic Guide To Pulling An All-Nighter

There comes a time in every student’s life when they have to do the worst possible thing you could think of — yeah, I’m talking about pulling an all-nighter.

If you’re someone who cherishes every millisecond of sleep like me, staying up all night (especially when it’s not for a fun reason like the club) is absolutely dreadful. But having finished both undergrad and grad school, I’m here to tell you that it is possible. Know how I know? I’ve done it without coffee. 

Whenever you’ve picked your mouth up from the floor, pay attention. The all-nighter is a difficult task, even if you consider yourself a night owl. We as humans were not built to be awake for all hours of the day, and we definitely were not built to use those awake hours to think and be productive. But just like stealing mugs from the dining hall and shitting in a communal bathroom, an all-nighter is like a rite of passage for those who choose to pursue higher education. It’s as if thousands of dollars in tuition isn’t enough — they need to take our sleep too.

Anyway, if you know you have a huge assignment that’s going to take all night or a big test coming up, don’t worry. Here’s how to realistically pull an all-nighter. Good luck — you’re going to need it. 

woman studying
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Make A Game Plan

If you know you need to pull an all-nighter to get a big assignment done and you’re banking on just getting it done with seconds to spare, I have some news for you. The biggest trick to a successful all-nighter is to plan out as much as you can as possible. Make outlines, print whatever needs to be printed, and if you can, make a schedule for yourself. There’s nothing worse than sacrificing sleep and then feeling overwhelmed because you don’t know WTF to do. If you make a game plan, you can use every possible second of time at your disposal. 

Make Sure You Include Breaks

Planning every moment does not mean you need to be actively working every single moment. Remember, pal, you’re human. Set aside little 10-15 minute breaks every now and then to walk around and get some fresh air. But be very careful. If you don’t adhere to specific timed breaks, you’ll find yourself down a rabbit hole of TikTok, getting absolutely nothing done. 

Pack Snacks Ahead Of Time

You’re going to need sustenance, but you don’t want to waste time running back and forth buying snacks. Pre-pack anything you want to eat — candy bars, fruits, chips. There’s no need to eat healthy when you’re pulling an all-nighter. And this goes for your meals too. Don’t waste time panicking about what to eat. If you decide on what you’re going to eat ahead of time, you can just Uber Eats it when you get hungry. 

Caffeine It Up

I know I got through college and grad school without coffee, but we can’t all be me. If you know you need some sort of caffeine to stay up, it’s time to stock up. So whether that’s coffee or energy drinks, make you have them at-the-ready.

Nap Beforehand

If the day before your all-nighter isn’t fully packed, dedicate as much time as you can to getting some sleep. The more sleep you get, the less insane you’ll feel. 

Keep Your Goal In Mind

The main reason I’ve ever gotten through any all-nighter ever is by constantly reminding myself, “You just have to get through the night, and then it’s over” while it’s happening. All-nighters require playing a lot of mental gymnastics with yourself. Staying up is hard, and you need to make sure you’re coaxing yourself through the night. You’re going to need all the motivation you can get.

Reward Yourself

After any all-nighter, you deserve a treat. Think of what you want that treat to be before you even start studying or working. It’ll help get you through the night, and you’ll have something to look forward to. It can literally be anything — a meal, clothes, sex — whatever helps you power through. You got this!

Syeda Khaula Saad
Syeda Khaula Saad
Syeda Khaula Saad is a sex & dating writer at Betches despite not remembering the last time she was in a relationship. Just take her word for it.