How to Pull a (healthy) All-Nighter

13 10 2009

What to do the night of your all-nighter.

  1. Wear your FAVORITE OUTFIT. This might sound odd, because of you are used to throwing on sweats or pajamas when preparing to stay up all night. You want to be as comfortable as possible, right? Yes… BUT there is nothing worse than not having slept, and then looking like a bum in your 8 am class the next day when everyone else is looking cute and smelling like cucumber melon. Wear something comfortable but also attractive. Like trendy flats/sneakers with a nice pair of jeans and a t-shirt with a funky design…something that makes you feel good! MAKE SURE IT’S CLEAN!
  2. DO NOT stack up on energy drinks. I repeat, DO NOT stack up on energy drinks. Energy drinks can be really detrimental to your health. And the more all-nighters you do, the more accustomed you will become to taking them. Energy drinks contain huge amounts of caffeine that can cause heart arrhythmia, irritablity and even seizures. (I stopped drinking energy drinks to stay awake after my heart started beating like crazy one morning). Read this interesting article on energy drinks and your health, by the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/12/health/12cons.html

Instead of immediately relying on caffeine, try the following:

  1. Keep drinking WATER. It’s amazing. It’s incredible. It’s magical. And it’s everwhere but most of us don’t take enough advantage of it. Dehydration is the cause of most headaches and can leave you feeling sluggish and tired. Keep sipping on a large bottle of water throughout the night and I ASSURE you, energy and clarity of mind will come!
  2. Snack on nuts and seeds. Yes, nuts and seeds. Almonds are especially delicious. Put almonds and raisins, pecans and pumpkin seeds in a ziploc bags. Nuts are packed with protein, and unlike meat won’t leave you feeling drained. This is a high power snack that is recommended by nearly all nutritionists. Snack on this throughout the night.
  3. Snack on fruits. Apples, bananas, oranges….whatever you can get your hands on. Organic is preferable if you can. Fruits are filled with antioxidants, necessary vitamins and potassium to give you energy and most importantly, drive away those awful colds that threaten to hold you back in school! It’s tempting to eat junk food when you’re pulling an all-nighter. You feel sorry for yourself. You feel like you deserve the “treat”…after all, you’re working soooo hard. But remember, filling your body with JUNK is not a treat. It’s actually more like abuse. Healthy food is also tasty food.
  4. Tea before Coffee: If you’re getting really tired, get some black tea with lemon and a bit of honey or sugar. (Adding milk  will probably make you more sleepy). Tea has high levels of flavanoids–cancer-fighting properties that are also found in fruits and vegetables, and less caffeine than coffee. If you MUST consume the crack–er, coffee…get a small cup. Start weaning yourself off of it slowly.
  5. Finally, take a 15 minute nap every 2 hours if possible. Just 15 minutes of sleep can give you the energy you need to continue. And your brain cells can start regenerating again! :)

I’d seldom needed to pull all-nighter when I was in undergrad, and I am always against staying up late. But after coming to grad school, staying up late or even all night become more often and necessary.
But I got sick in the beginning of the semester, because a entire lack of sleep week and a too-much-fun weekend. SO obviously, you get sick easily when you’re too tired. But how can I have a healthier all-nighter experience.
Here is a blog article I googled up dedicated on how to stay up all night in a healthier manner.
I reiterate: HEALTHIER… is relative, too much all-nigher is by definition unhealthy.

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