Pulling the classic all-nighter is a concept that college students are all too familiar with. It's inevitable and it's haunting. With finals week just around the corner, libraries will soon be packed, study rooms will all be reserved and tears will fall. The following tips are for all the students who plan on participating in last-minute (or last night) cramming for the important exams. Here's how to effectively pull an all-nighter and make the most out of the time that should really be spent sleeping.
1. Take a nap beforehand.
If you know that you're going to be pulling an all-nighter, make sure that you get your rest beforehand. Take a nap to re-energize your body in preparation for the long hours you're about to spend at a desk. If you end up "taking a nap" in the middle of your all-nighter, you're most likely not going to wake up quickly enough.
2. Turn off all distractions.
Yes, by distractions, I mean your phone and all forms of social media. If you're about to lose sleep over studying, you better be using that time actually studying. That new Instagram picture that your crush posted can wait. So can those Facebook memes.
3. Chew gum.
Studies have shown that chewing gum actually helps when you need that extra brain power boost. Chewing helps blood flow to the head, improving memory and the general speed of information-processing. Get chewing (but make sure you're not chewing gum for hours on end)!
4. Take breaks.
Taking a couple minutes out of your study session to take a short walk or stretch is not going to cost you points on your exam. Make sure to always take breaks to let your brain and eyes get rest from looking at textbook pages.
5. Try to stay away from caffeine.
While it is true that caffeine helps you stay awake, it also makes you crash when the effects wear off. If possible, try to avoid drinking too much coffee and energy drinks (or you might just fall asleep during the test). Instead, stay hydrated with water. If anything, those extra runs to the restroom will help you stay awake.
6. Study in a moderate temperature environment.
Studying in a too-warm or too-cold environment can actually affect the way you study. Heat can cause drowsiness which is the last thing you want when you pull an all-nighter. Additionally, being cold causes one to become more distracted because the body is too busy trying to stay warm. Keeping the room around 77 degrees will keep you alert and focused.
7. Snack (but on protein).
When we think of late night snacking, we usually think of chips and pizza. However, these are exactly the types of foods you should avoid because they are high in carbs. Consuming high-carb foods can actually make you lethargic. Instead, opt for snacks that are high in protein such as beef jerky.
While sometimes it may seem like an all-nighter is inevitable and the only option to succeed on a test, it's important to realize that with a little less procrastination and more effective use of time, anyone can do well on an exam without having to sacrifice sleep. Here's to great grades and bright futures!
Lead Image Credit: Davide Cantelli via Unsplash