How To Pull An All-Nighter For School

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Written By Idil Ulucevik

With exams on the way, as students we know how stressful things can get, and how tempted you may be to stay up all night to cram for an exam, finish a project, or just catch up in general. 

As students, we get it. As authors, we highly recommend doing everything you can to avoid pulling an all-nighter. But, things happen and sometimes you just need to put in the work. It’s better to lose a night’s sleep than lose your GPA or scholarships due to poor grades. 

Below are some tried and true tips and tricks to successfully pull an all nighter. 

Avoid Working In Your Room

It’s tempting to get comfortable on your bed late at night with your project, but it’s one of the worst things you can do if you’re trying to stay up all night. Working in your room means you’re going to be looking at your bed and dreaming of laying in it. If you happen to make the mistake of actually laying in it, chances are you will fall asleep and end up failing your exam. 

Keep Alarms On In Case You Fall Asleep

Sometimes fear drives us to panic about things that cause us to actually do them. In this case, obsessing over not falling asleep can cause you to fall asleep. Or any wrong combination of things can cause it to be honest, things get weird at 3am.

The best way to avoid this is to set alarms to go off throughout the night. Set one for random intervals around an hour away from each other and change up the alarm sound. This will make sure you don’t adjust yourself to the noise and it’s random enough that if you do end up falling asleep, you will wake up. 

Get A Study Buddy

Find someone in your class, or in your dorm that you can talk to throughout the night. You can use the buddy system to check in on each other to ensure neither of you falls asleep. You can even take turns napping and use each other as an alarm to make sure you get back up. 

Keep The Lights On

It’s tempting to work in the dark, especially late at night, but avoid it at all costs. This will make you more drowsy and it will be easier for you to fall asleep. Keeping the lights on will help your brain to associate it with active time and help you to not get so drowsy. 

Monitor Your Screen Brightness

It’s easy to assume that you bought a great computer and you don’t need to worry about anything else, but ensuring that your screen isn’t too bright will actually help you stay up longer. Most screens are too bright, even good computers have this problem, and the blue screen can tire your eyes out. 

Ensure you’re not harming your eyes by taking frequent breaks from your screen and looking away from it. This keeps your eyes fresh and alert. 

Avoid Sugar

It can be tempting in those early hours of the morning to snack on something sweet. The sugar will give you a rush, just what you need. But sugar can cause a real crash for your body, which means you’re not going to make it past your sugar high. 

This tip is for snacking, but fans of Red Bull and Monster energy drinks should be aware of this as well. Drinking late at night means you’re subject to crash once that sugar wears off. 

Minimal Caffeine

We’re not going to deny how effective coffee is to keep you up, especially late at night. But drinking too much coffee can have the adverse effect. Similar to avoiding energy drinks, having too much coffee means you will have a caffeine crash. In general, caffeine lasts longer than sugar does, but it’s still important to limit your caffeine consumption. 

A great way to avoid caffeine burnout is to switch to black tea which is lower in caffeine, thus easier to control your intake. You can drink black tea throughout the night without entering a caffeine rush. 

Extra bonus, mix your black tea with green tea to get the best of both worlds; black tea to keep you awake and green tea to help you concentrate. 

Power Nap

This one is scary to try, especially if you are really tired, but pulled off successfully it can be a game changer during an all nighter. By taking a quick 10-15 minute power nap your body can obtain all the benefits of a nap without the drowsy hangover commonly associated with waking up from a nap. Your body needs sleep, and the more it needs sleep the faster it will enter REM. 

Eat Healthy And Drink Water

This one is probably obvious, but eating garbage will only help you to fall asleep at your desk. Think like a runner, you want to be drinking water all the time and snacking on something light and healthy. We recommend stocking up on carrots and peanut butter for a healthy but delicious snack, but there’s countless options to choose from. 

Get An Hour Of Sleep

Once you’re near the time you would usually wake up you should consider sleeping for at least an hour. This will give your body time to recharge and brace for the day. Staying up all night is hard, but staying up the entire next day is even harder, especially if you have an important presentation to make. 

By sleeping for an hour you can trick your body into feeling more rested than you really are. Your natural sleep schedule should help you to wake up, just be sure to keep a few alarms set in case you oversleep. 

Go To Bed Early The Next Night

No one can be sleepless forever. If you were in the unfortunate situation of needing to stay up all night, make sure to reward your body by sleeping early the next night. This will allow you to make up for lost sleep and get fully recharged. 


No one wants to stay up all night working, and it’s never a pleasant experience, but by following these tips you can help make your all-nighter a bit more bearable. Next time you’re preparing for an all-nighter, consider adjusting your schedule a bit to give yourself more time to work on your project. When the time comes that you really need to stay up all night for school, remember these tips! 

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