Knowing how to pull a successful all nighter is critical for everyone.  From college students, to new employees, to entreprenuers trying to land their first big break, everyone needs to know how to stay up late to get the job done– without crashing and burning.  Because let’s be honest, a bad all nighter is like old milk– something you never want to taste again.

1. Take a nap first.

Put a little gas in your “sleep tank” by getting a few zzz’s before you get to work.  By taking a nap,  you will feel more rested and more ready to power through the night.  Just make sure you set an alarm!

2.  Eat protein.

Don’t make the rookie mistake of chowing down on carbs before an all nighter.  Carbs will give you a burst of energy, then leave you feeling wiped out.  Instead, eat protein to keep your energy levels stable all night long.

3.  Exercise.

Want a quick shot of go-juice?  Do a little exercise. It doesn’t have to be anything long or drawn out, but even a few jumping jacks can get your blood pumping again.

4. Caffeine.

This is my favorite.  I load myself up with caffeine before most people even think about getting their first cup of coffee.  If you want to get through a whole night of work, don’t be afraid to find your favorite source.  Some of my friends swear by energy drinks, but I prefer a pot of the black stuff.

5. Stay in a stimulating space.

Have you ever been to a casino?  There’s tons of lights, noise, and people around to keep you alert.  Next time you’re thinking about pulling an all nighter, find a similar place.  The more lights and talking around you, the easier it will be to stay awake.

6. Get some fresh air.

This is another casino trick.  Casinos pump oxygen into the building to keep people gambling longer.  You simulate this experience by getting a fan of finding somewhere where the air feels fresh.

7. Make sure your project is important

Before you start your all night work session, review the reasons you need to do it.  Make sure you have an important reason: a deadline, a project you’re passionate about, or a limited time to complete your work.  If you’re trying to accomplish a boring project by staying up all night, chances are you’re going to fall asleep before the clock strikes midnight.  However, if you’re pumped about your project and you need to get it done TONIGHT, you’ll have better luck getting the work done.

8. Get a partner.

The easiest way to make sure you are successful is to find a friend who also needs to pull an all nighter.  Their encouragement will help you power through the tough late night hours.  Just make sure they don’t distract you from what you need to get done.

9. Set some alarms.

If you’re worried about falling asleep before you get your work done, set an alarm– or ten.  An alarm every hour– on the hour –will help you keep you awake and help you keep track of time.

10. Make a to do list.

Working all night can help you get stuff done; however, as your brain power diminishes due to exhaustion, it’s tough to stay on track with what you need to accomplish.  Make a to do list BEFORE you start your all nighter.  This will keep you focused on exactly what needs to get done.  Make  your to do list as detailed as possible so you will lots of stuff to cross off. This will help you stay motivated in the middle of the night.

Featured photo credit: Insomnia/Carlos Martz via flickr.com

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