7 Fool-Proof Tips to Stay *In The Zone* When Pulling An All-Nighter

Cramming a last-minute study session?
by Maia Ebora   |  Jun 16, 2023
Image: Pexels Art: Shannen Gardon
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We’ve all tried to stay up all night at some point, whether you’re catching up on readings or beating a deadline. There may have been inevitable cases wherein you accidentally dozed off on your papers or even lost track of the time! Whatever your struggle is with pulling an all-nighter, we’ve got your back.

Here are seven fool-proof tips to keep you up and in the zone!

  1. Set the mood with lights or background noise

Setting up a work-friendly environment is one step towards productivity. You may opt to use bright lights instead of the usual dim tones to literally wake you up. Meanwhile, listening to upbeat music can definitely serve as the energy boost you need for the night—maybe some Charli XCX or your favorite K-pop bops. As long as it’s not anything close to a classic lullaby, you’re sure to survive.

  1. Caffeine may do the trick—or not

It may be tempting to chug cup after cup of coffee, but listen to us when we say it’s not the best option. Remember: caffeine will eventually dehydrate you, and the same rule goes for energy boosters. The best option is to start your night with water and to save your caffeine intake for when you really need that kick. When you get to your caffeine fix, take it in small amounts. 

  1. Engage in a monologue by yourself

Remember the times you spent up all night chatting with a friend, only to end up not noticing the time? Consider this as a different approach to focusing. Instead of chatting with a friend, say your readings out loud, pretend you’re in an interview, or try repeating what you’re reading. Think of it as chatting with yourself about what you’re currently reading. This way, you will be able to pinpoint lapses in your understanding of the subject!

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  1. Take power naps

One of the most common mistakes people make when pulling an all-nighter is staying awake throughout the night and eventually losing  focus the next day. The solution to this is to take a power nap, which ideally takes only 15 to 20 minutes. Power naps are known to improve your overall state-of-mind and alertness without  making you feel groggy when you wake up. But take note: never use power naps as a substitute for getting enough rest!

  1. Set up a study plan

Overwhelming yourself with tasks that are impossible to complete overnight will drain you. Ideally, you should plan your work beforehand so the evening flows well. At the same time, you are also setting little goals for yourself throughout this period, which serves as a good motivator during hectic moments. 

  1. Move around

The body tends to relax when there isn’t enough going on to stimulate it, and that’s not what you want when you’re planning to stay awake. Waking your body up with small movements usually does the trick, like tapping your feet to the beat of your background music or doing stretches on each break time. 

  1. Try something new

Moving to a different study area can stimulate your mind enough to keep you focused. You can also try bringing some friends over and studying at the same time. Trying a new method every thirty minutes also comes in handy when you’re studying the same book the whole night—like switching from jotting down bulleted notes to making flash cards. This is also a great way to familiarize yourself with new techniques that  you can use again for your next all-nighter session!

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Maia Ebora