Is it Possible to Study Efficiently When Pulling an All-Nighter?

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Updated Sep 14, 2021
Is it Possible to Study Efficiently When Pulling an All-Nighter?

College life is a period when you can try different hobbies, start your career, gain new knowledge, etc. However, you still have 24 hours a day, and without amazing time-management skills, maintaining all these activities can become a real challenge. Until you're Hermione Granger with a Time-Turner, you have the only source to take additional hours for studying: compromising on your sleep. Unfortunately, it doesn't guarantee you success since working more doesn't mean working efficiently. 

Is it possible to reach your productivity peak when you lack sleep? Let’s see! 

How to Pull an All-Nighter When You Don't Have Another Choice

It is essential to understand that when you don't take the situation under control, you may find yourself the next day absolutely unsatisfied. On the one hand, you receive additional hours that are necessary to finish the project. But they still don't guarantee you a lack of procrastination. So, when you understand that you don't go to bed in the next few hours, follow our tips to make it at least worth it.

Make a Plan

game-plan

Take some time to organize your night studies. You should assess the amount of work adequately, without high expectations. Don't think that you'll write a whole dissertation in one night. The more voluminous and complicated your task is, the more frustrating you can become because of it.

When you have a plan of your steps and follow it, you don't let your brain get distracted. Stay focused, and don't let social media lead you astray. 

For example, when you have to get prepared for the exam, your plan may look this way:

  1. To read all questions and requirements that you have;
  2. To define which topics are easy enough and which ones need more attention;
  3. To find enough information and analyze it;
  4. To make short summary notes;
  5. To make flashcards with the data to remember;
  6. To work on practical tasks, e.g. solving math problems;
  7. To read the whole material once more.

Have a Healthy Dinner

diet

Your brain and body need the energy to stay awake all night long. It is a bad idea to take this energy from drinks like Red Bull because they contain a lot of sugar and other chemical substances that are not good for your health.

It is better to have a light dinner with veggies. You can also eat fruit, e.g. banana or apple that contain fast carbohydrates and therefore give you energy.

Make Active Pauses

breaks

Physical activity is the next great source of energy that you can use when you don't get enough sleep. Of course, you shouldn't go jogging at night, but what about a couple of simple exercises like squats, burpees, or stretching? If you live with your parents or friends, choose sports that are not too noisy. Exercises promote blood circulation which is necessary to stay awake. They also cause your body to generate more adrenaline. 

Incorporate Power Naps in Your Routine

nap

If you can't sleep all night long, it doesn't mean that you shouldn't sleep at all. Power naps help you to recharge your batteries just in several minutes. How do they work?

There are several non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM) stages when your body acts differently. The first stage lasts 5-10 minutes, and the second stage, when your temperature drops and your brain produces sleep spindles, lasts about 20 minutes. This spindle is crucial to process and consolidate information so that when you sleep 15-20 minutes, you wake away with a refreshed energy to complete your assignments.

However, when you sleep longer, you go to the next stage when deep sleep occurs. It is not desirable to wake up at this moment because you'll feel exhausted.

Actually, though you can organize your night studies appropriately and even get some results, it doesn’t mean that you should do it. 

Why College Students Are Not Recommended to Study at Nights?

rule

Though there are larks and owls, there are also standardized recommendations that most students need 7-10 hours of sleep daily. It means that even if you prefer to work late, you should compensate this time. Lack of sleep may go unnoticed in the short term but it is surely unhealthy. 

Try to avoid studying late nights if possible and adhere to a strict sleep schedule. However, sometimes you just don't have another choice, and then your task is to understand how to pull an all-nighter not to regret this choice. 

Understand Your Reasons to Face the Challenge

It is necessary to understand why exactly you should study at night. Is it a force-major, or your lifestyle?

If You Have Time-management Issues

When you have a lot of various disciplines, projects, hobbies, etc., it is not that easy to maintain all of them. So, if you understand that time management is your weakness, try the next tips:

  • Set SMART goals;
  • Write down your tasks and divide them into milestones;
  • Do only one task at a time;
  • Try the Eisenhower Matrix to decide on your priorities;
  • Control how much time do you need for all types of assignments;
  • Plan in advance.

If You Work Better At Night

Different people have different biorhythms. However, most colleges require students to adhere to a classic schedule, when they have to wake up early and go to bed early in order to get enough amount of sleep. Studying at night to be productive, you should consider sleeping more in the morning. Make a list of household chores, and other routines that you usually do at this time, and try to

If You Can’t Get Rid Of Procrastination

It is normal to procrastinate from time to time, but it can be really annoying when you have an important exam to get prepared for. Try these apps that help college students to stay concentrated on their studies:

  • Zero Willpower;
  • 1-3-5 List;
  • Simple Habit;
  • Mindly;
  • Momentum;
  • Pomodoro Keepers.

If You’re A Perfectionist

Though some people may think that perfectionism is a gift, it is a real disaster that doesn’t let you calm your mind. There are no universal keys to get rid of this problem because it depends on some personal issues, child habits, self-esteem, etc. Some students even visit psychotherapists to discuss this topic and develop self-help tools. However, it is essential to recognize that you have to work with it. Good grades and brownie points from your professors don’t worth your health sleep. 

Best Tips to Avoid Long Night Studies

tips

We know that in most cases your night study sessions are random. Most students don't really want to give up sleep, and they don't do it when they have enough time to work on college assignments at day. If you know that it is your problem, you can think about it in advance, and build your college life that way so that you get enough sleep. 

Don't Make it Your Habit  

Always keep in mind that night study sessions should be temporary. You can borrow energy from yourself when the deadline is tomorrow, and you really want to finish this project. But you can't repeat this every single week. 

It would be a good idea if you take control of your schedule in advance. Each time when your professors pile you with homework, evaluate these tasks to understand how much time they require. Divide them into shorter milestones and add them to your calendar. Develop good study and time-management habits that are efficient in the long-term perspective.

For example, you can organize your day. Consider time periods when you work really productive and don't waste them in vain. And vice versa, don't force yourself to study if you usually feel sleepy in the morning. 

Understand That Cramming is Useless

A lot of your peers believe that poring over textbooks without sleep will bring them to success. However, cramming is the worst strategy to memorize information, especially if you want to remember it even after the exam. 

Research shows that sleeping helps you to learn new information even better than constant rereading. When you read the textbook and set it aside before hitting the sack, your brain continues working and processing this data. And sleep deprivation provides you with the opposite result since overworked neurons don't coordinate information properly. 

Take Care of Yourself

When you’re young, you’re really full of energy. It is easy to stay awake all night long, and sometimes you don’t even feel tired. But don't let this feeling of omnipotence fool you. From a long-term perspective, it will have bad consequences.

Such things as good sleep, healthy food, physical activity are your basic priorities that should be in the first place. If you have to study a lot right now, take care of yourself later. For example, take a vacation after your exams. 

Ask For Help

Nobody expects you to be a superhero. It is absolutely normal if you have some issues, and you don't believe you're able to overcome them. That's why it is necessary to have someone who will help you in this situation. For example, you can ask your friend to study together, hire a professional writer, or even ask your professor to postpone the deadline. It may sound surprising, but your professors are people, and they were students as well. So, be honest about your difficulties, and it will save you from new problems.

Angelina Grin
Creative Writer and Blog Editor

Work, study, play, party, love, move, go, improve.