Introduction: How to Pull Off the Most Efficient All-nighter!

This is written as if you're currently in the middle of an all-nighter looking for help, because sometimes you may need to stay up all night!

Some Background:

I'm a college student with a little sleeping problem: If I'm up past a certain point, I sleep through my morning alarm(s), no matter how loud, or how many I've set. Sometimes, I've just gotta pull an all-nighter.

All-nighters can be useful when:
-Studying late to cram for tests
-You're too wired to sleep
-Lost track of time and stayed up too late
-Have the same alarm clock problem as I do

This Instructable is purely informational, and I highly recommend against all-nighters. Nothing is better for the body and mind than a good night's sleep. This Instructable is recommended for those that may have found themselves in a predicament in which an all-nighter may be crucial.

Let's begin

Step 1: Avoid Requiring an All-nighter in the First Place!

All-nighters are very bad for you. They leave you feeling very drained, sluggish, and oftentimes a bit loopy.

First off, here are some of the risks of sleep deprivation a la Wikipedia:

-Aching muscles
-Confusion, memory lapses or loss
-Hand tremors
-Malaise (general feeling of discomfort)
-Sensitivity to cold
-Dark bags under eyes
-Increased blood pressure
-Increased stress hormone levels
-Increased risk of diabetes
-Increased risk of fibromyalgia
-Nystagmus (rhythmic eye movement)
-Symptoms of ADHD or psychosis

Avoid all-nighters at all costs by:

-Studying earlier in the evening, or perhaps in the afternoon
-Getting a good night's sleep and waking up earlier
-Paying closer attention to the time at night
-Sticking to a very strict wake up time every single day

But of course, it's too late for these preventative measures, at least at the current moment. You should try to apply this from now on; but for now, let's get to what you need to do at the moment.

Step 2: Some Key Things for a Successful All-nighter

Some very important things to consider that may make your all-nighter more bearable.

-Sit up straight in a chair, if it's uncomfortable, that actually might help you stay awake
-Keep a light on. If it's dark, you'll feel more tired (darkness causes the body to produce melatonin, a natural sleep hormone!).
-On the same note as above, blue light is a higher energy color. It's believed to keep people up at night and cause insomnia. At this point in time, that's probably a good thing.
-Listen to a non-repetitive, energetic genre of music. Techno, metal, rap, and dubstep are good choices, but if none of these appeal to you, try to find an upbeat song that gets you pumped up.

Most of all--- DO NOT RELAX


This is the bane of all-nighters! You've made it to 7am, class doesn't start till 9:30, maybe I'll lay down for 10 minutes. NEVER DO THIS! This is what will blow your awesome successful all-nighter into flaming, smoldering bits!

Laying down to rest a bit can seem well-deserved and will be very appealing in the state you're in, but it will ruin all the suffering you've went through. Keep active! Here's some things you can do to avoid the temptation of those fluffy pillows:

-Stand up! This is simple and can work wonders in its effectiveness
-Walk around/Pace.
-Do some jumping jacks
-Do some pushups. Pushups really get the blood flowing and can make you a bit more energized
-Stand up and stretch/limber up
-Do some jumping jacks
-Don't do sit-ups! You may be tempted to not come back up and fall asleep on the floor

*Not only will doing things like pushup s or jumping jacks keep you awake, they'll obviously also help you get some exercise! This can be a plus!

Step 4: Keep Your Mind Entertained

From the moment you decide you want to pull an all-nighter, you need to find a way to keep your mind busy.

-Studying can be dull, every 20-30 minutes, you should take a little 10 minute break

Here's some things to do on those breaks:

-Always do this! Stand up, shake out those tired muscles
-Do a few pushups or sit-ups
-Walk around a bit
-Play a videogame
-Watch videos on Youtube
-Watch music videos
-Read if that keeps your mind active
-Write Instructables!
-Do some mind benders, maybe a Rubix cube

Step 5: Restock Vital Nutrients!

Depriving your body of sleep can do nasty things to your immune system, organs, mind, etc.
That's why whenever I pull an all-nighter, I take a couple important vitamins to keep my body as healthy as I can.

I take:

-A general multivitamin
-Vitamin C supplement
-A Vitamin D supplement
-A non-drowsy allergy pill just in case my immune system runs out of gas
-And water!

These will all help your body and mind cope with the lack of sleep and hopefully prevent you from getting sick from it.

I may as well put this on here for informational purposes:

(DO NOT DO THIS!!!)- As a college student, I've seen that many people abuse prescription drugs for ADHD as a means to pull an all nighter. This is a much darker approach to pulling all-nighters. This can be dangerous as many of those drugs are habit-forming and this is an illegal thing to do in the United States. I'm putting this out there because people do it and you have the right to be informed! You have no reason to do this unless you are prescribed due to ADHD. This is a bad approach at this and will yield much worse results on your body than this approach. Any medications I list here are prescription medications that I do not recommend to use, and if you do, you use them at your own risk.

Commonly Abused Medications

Step 6: Keep That Energy- Stimulants

This step isn't called energy drinks for a reason. Energy drinks are extremely bad for you and honestly, they should never be inside your body. Here are some pro's and cons to energizing drinks.

-A nice little energy buzz
-Smells good
-Very refreshing smell and taste
-Makes you sharper mentally
-Can taste relatively bitter, which can help keep you awake
-Easy to brew and easily accessible
-Can cause stomachaches and general discomfort on an empty stomach
-Makes you need to use the restroom (This can be viewed as a pro as well, as constantly going to the bathroom can keep you up and active)
-You can crash on coffee
-A pain to brew
-Generally not too good for you

Energy Drinks
-Quick and strong energy boost
-Sometimes delicious
-Mental sharpness
-The nasty ones can keep you up because of their horrid taste and smell
-Extremely bad for you
-Can make you gain weight!
-Heart palpitations???
-Can be expensive
-Some just taste plain awful
-You WILL crash
-To keep the buzz going, you usually need more than one, and two is MUCH worse than one!
-Can make you pretty sick if you aren't used to them
-Increased risk of heart disease


-No jitters
-No crash
-Tea usually smells pretty good
-Not as much of a boost as the above 2
-Very good for you
-Can be a pain to brew as it can be time consuming
-Loose-leaf tea is the best for you but it's...
-Not as easily accessible
-Loose-leaf tea can require some obscure tea knowledge
-Loose-leaf can be expensive

Water (best consumed ice cold):
Practically free
-Keeps you alive
-Can be splashed on your face
-No taste
-Won't do your homework

Make sure you occasionally have a light snack or even an extra meal. The food energy can make your long night a tad bit easier.

Step 7: User Beware - Tobacco Products

Tobacco products contain nicotine, which is a stimulant. Stimulants keep you awake.
If you are a tobacco user, the occasional smoke break, snus, or dip can really help you out.
If you are not a tobacco user, don't become one.

Step 8: Mental Strength

This step is a little more obscure, but it deserves to be on here; if you have the mental strength to stay up, it will be much easier than having a resigned attitude towards having to stay up. In other words, if you really want to stay up, it'll be easier than just needing to stay up, and grudgingly doing it. Look at it as a means to push yourself. The test will remind you of how much better a good night's sleep is.

-Another important thing to do is set an alarm just to be sure. If you slip, they may rescue your all-nighter from a sleepy demise!

Step 9: You Made It!

Congratulations, you spent all night playing videogames/studying (mostly studying right?), drinking tea, and jamming out to some Pantera!
It's now 7AM, class starts in 2 hours. Get up, stretch, take a cold shower
and spend time getting ready. Have a big breakfast! This is important as it will provide you energy throughout the school day, or regular day maybe.
Do not lay down! You may feel you deserve some rest, but that comes later that night!
Keep up the stuff you read earlier, maybe study a bit more before class, remembering to keep active.
It would probably be a good idea to have some more Vitamin C and another cup of tea before you go.
-Now comes the hardest part, getting through class!

Step 10: This May Be the Hardest Part of All

Hopefully, you have an exciting, engaging class with a likable teacher, but odds are, class is boring. You're going to need several ways to stay awake through class. Here's some:

-Pay attention! Latch on to what your teacher/professor is saying, you'll learn, and hopefully stay awake
-Take notes! This will keep a few more muscles active and hopefully keep you awake
-Get engaged in class, ask questions, participate; it will be easier to stay awake if you're engaged in a deep discussion between you, your professor, and classmates
-Chew gum, strong minty gum preferably. This will keep you awake, and it will keep some muscles moving
-Bring a bottle of water to class, and sip when you start feeling like you're about to go unconscious
-Bounce your leg; this may annoy others, but it's a helpful way to stay awake
-Keep active between your classes (e.g. jog to your next class, refill your water bottle, do a few jumping jacks when no one's looking, get a fresh piece of gum, etc.)
-Eat lunch! Your body needs energy! Give it something to burn! (Preferably not anything like fast food.
-Get excited! You're a beast and didn't sleep like those other wimps! You don't need sleep! You're a monster! WHOO!

But seriously, if you've made it this far, just keep it up. If you start to feel like falling asleep, STAND UP and shake the sleep away! If you don't, you WILL fall asleep, and why do that when you made it this far?

Step 11: Pat Yourself on the Back, and Never Do This Again!


You've done what very few others before you have done! Now that you've experienced this trying ordeal, never do it again. By pulling an all-nighter, you've probably learned how much it sucks. Reflect on why you had to do it, and take steps to never do it again. Remember, no matter how much you do to make an all-nighter bearable, nothing will make it as bearable as a good night's sleep.

So get some sleep, your body will love you for it.
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