It is never ideal to go without sleep, just as it’s not good to sleep too much. The benefits of regular sleep cycles have been consistently touted by doctors. Lack of sleep may contribute to low sperm counts and other attributes of unhealthy lifestyles, such as obesity and heavier smoking and drinking. There is also the threat of poorer decision making, and 24 hours of being awake can impact drivers in much the same way as though they had a blood alcohol level of .10%.
However, sometimes, we must grind out that overdue assignment or odd work demands. For when you are facing consistent issues, I wrote an article on changing schedules to maximize productivity. I could argue that with enough foresight an all-nighter is never necessary. However, I have found myself staying up all night more than a few times. For those instances, there are numerous things that can help you to push through the day.
Junk food, like chips and chocolate sound appealing in a state of weariness and help out initially, but the effects wear off quickly, leading to a major crash. Eating healthier foods, such as those with natural sugars, like bananas, will not come with a crash and will also help combat the multitude of other negative health consequences of staying up late. A high protein breakfast is the best start to any day, especially after being awake all night. High protein snacks at intervals throughout the day are indispensable.
Take frequent breaks and make sure they include sufficient body movement to keep blood flowing. Yoga breaks are also extremely beneficial for accessing more energy.
Lack of sleep typically comes with pain, particularly headaches and moodiness. Nip that in the bud right after breakfast and alleviate the pain that will inevitably come with aspirin or some other pain-killer to miss the distraction and lethargy that comes with the pain.
Dehydration leads to more fatigue. Staying hydrated is the best way to stay alert and maintain brain and body functions. Eating ice is also a great strategy to maintain hydration, and the chewing aspect keeps the body active. Splashing cold water on the face is hydrating as well.
Putting on a pair of sweatpants and a hoodie will only make you feel more like going to bed and will turn others away from wanting to interact with you. By dressing like the day is important, you set yourself up with the right mentality. Looking alive and feeling alive go hand in hand.
Coffee or soda are common things used to combat weariness. However, they are only quick fixes that lead to dehydration and crashes after the effects wear off. When using caffeine, it takes 15-30 minutes for the effects to kick in. The best strategy is to take the caffeine and then nap for 30 minutes to wake up feeling refreshed.
There is only so long a person can hold out. Get the important things done while at your most alert stages and try to go home early.
Video games keep the mind active, which is why it’s so easy to stay up all night playing them. They also take the mind off the mundane activities that can make it so easy to fall asleep. Even five minutes of a simple game can put your mind back into the right gear.
Having headphone on with something catchy and fun can keep you bopping along with some zest. The music shouldn’t be too complex or too soothing or else it will just put you to sleep. Anything too thought provoking might cause you to lose focus and become more worn out.
The best tricks only work when used sparingly, so don’t overdo things. Pulling an all-nighter multiple times in the same week will be harder than once a year. Besides, if the reason for staying up all night is for school or work, there is more harm being done by staying up than by getting at least a few hours of sleep. It also helps to get more sleep in the days before pulling an all-nighter, if at all possible, to reduce the cumulative effects of weariness.
Featured photo credit: At work/Mårten Vennelin via flickr.com
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