Tips for Pulling an All-Nighter

By ANGELA MURPHY, CSU Communications Student Assistant 

Making a plan, pacing yourself, taking breaks and staying fueled up is part of the dreaded all-nighter.

If you are reading this, I can assume one of a few scenarios. One, you realize you have a ton of assignments due in the next few days. Two, you forgot to write that paper due for your 8 a.m. Three, You have an exam and you haven’t taken any lecture notes. Or, dreaded Four, all these situations combined. 

First, and most importantly, you are not alone.  Many students procrastinate even more than before with online classes. To help, I have six tips I have personally used. Many of my peers also use them.  Let’s take a look: 

Tip 1: Write down everything you need to accomplish.  

This at first may overwhelm you particularly if it’s Thursday night and you haven’t done any homework all week. In the long run, it will help you to see what you need to do and what you have completed. I personally recommend grabbing a piece of paper. This way you can physically cross it out. If you are an iPad user, do it on one of your notes apps. I also recommend listing the class along with the assignment.

After writing down what you need to complete, remember, you are not alone. More than likely many of your fellow students are doing the same thing.

Tip 2: Figure Out How Long Each Assignment Will Take 

I know this sounds like a waste of time, but it helps when it’s 3 a.m. and you have four more assignments to get done. It also helps keep you motivated when you want to give up two hours into the marathon. 

To estimate the time required you will need to know how long something usually takes you to complete. For example, a 45-minute lecture video can take me up to an hour and a half since I pause it to take notes. Your estimate can be off. I personally like to plan more time for an assignment rather than underestimate it. 

If you created your original list, add the time needed to the list. 

Tip 3: It’s Okay to Take Breaks. 

The most important thing to understand is that you don’t need to strap yourself to your chair and work straight through. It’s actually smart to take small breaks. I also encourage changing classes. By that I mean, do your first Psychology lecture then work on your smartbook for Health. Whatever is going to be easiest for you to stay engaged, do that. Taking an assignment from each category or class and coming up with your own orders can also work. 

Tip 4: Order Some Pizza 

Face it, you probably won’t want to make yourself food when you’re hungry at 2 a.m. Order the pizza earlier into your all-nighter. Personally, I recommend around 10 p.m. Or, if you are going back to your place, order it on your way home and pick it up. 

Tip 5: Caffeine and Lights 

Maybe caffeine is your thing – coffee, Monster, Redbull, Rockstar, etc. The only tip for caffeine is: wait. If you know you are going to fall asleep drink your energy drink. I recommend drinking it around 1 to 3 a.m. This is usually when you want to give up. This will help keep you awake. I as well recommend doing this in a room with good lighting. If the room is too dark you could fall asleep while doing your homework. 

Tip 6: Set Alarms, Take Naps, and Take Breaks 

Taking mini naps during your all-nighter will help. If you know you can’t learn anymore, take a break or a nap. In the long run, you do not want to sit and do homework all night long. You wouldn’t remember anything even if you tried due to lack of sleep and not taking mental breaks. Personally, I recommend going on TikTok and setting a timer for how long you will be on a break. If, after that timer goes off, you still feel you cannot continue take a 10 to 20 minute nap.  If you are like me, I can’t nap, I sit on TikTok or some phone game until I am mentally ready to continue. 

The bottom line is that each person pulls all-nighters differently. Some people require no plan, no caffeine, and no breaks. Others need a plan, caffeine, and lots of breaks.

If you have friends who also need to pull an all-nighter, work together to keep each other motivated until you guys finish and complete your goals.  

Also, make sure you get enough sleep the next night. You will want to recover after spending all night doing homework. Best of luck with your future all-nighter adventures. 

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