Pulling at least one all-nighter during college is inevitable, especially when exam season rolls around. During peak exam times throughout the semester, all of the 24-hour study zones will suddenly become packed with students hurrying to research, memorize, and put together final projects just in the nick of time. Along with the extra-packed libraries and extra-long lines at the on-campus coffee shops comes a student population that probably looks more like sleep-deprived zombies than fun-loving co-eds.
Unfortunately, living out the day after an all-nighter will feel like the twilight zone. But if you have to be productive in any way, shape, or form, we’ve got several tips for functioning on no sleep and gracefully recovering from an all-nighter.
Tip #1: Take a Nap
Instead of dragging yourself to the library for more studying, take a break and go back to your dorm for a little cat nap. As long as you don’t sleep for more than 45 minutes -- which will adversely make you feel even groggier than before -- you will definitely feel recharged after napping. It’s also wise to get some extra zzz’s on the days following your all-nighter. With your organic bedding wrapped around you like a burrito, go to bed as early as possible so that your body can restore itself.
Tip #2: Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
You may be tempted to reach for a Diet Coke or brew another K-Cup coffee when you’re recovering from an all-nighter, but your body actually needs water. A study by Tufts University actually found that mild dehydration is enough to impair your thinking, which can happen if you drink too much caffeine. While water might not give you that same rush of energy as coffee, staying hydrated on the day after an all-nighter will help you feel less sleep deprived.
Tip #3: Tackle the Tough Stuff First
If you still have things you need to get done after your all-nighter, prioritize the most difficult tasks first. Make a checklist (but don’t overwhelm yourself by adding too much to it!) Even though you’ll certainly be tired in the morning, you’ll feel even more exhausted as the day goes on. Getting at least some things done in the morning will allow you to still feel productive when you end up snoozing away the afternoon.
Tip #4: Plan Better for Next Time
If you know an all-nighter is coming, bank sleep ahead of time. During the days leading up to your final exams, don’t suddenly decide to become the life of every party. Instead, get plenty of sleep and study during the days leading up to the exam, instead of cramming, to avoid pulling the all-nighter.
With these tips in mind, you can recover from staying up all night in a healthy, mindful way. Just be careful not to make all-nighters a habit! While sometimes pulling an all-nighter is necessary, it’ll take away from your college experience if your energy levels are always hurting.