By Ilan Nass, Fueled
In every working person’s life, there comes a time when staying up to work throughout the night is unavoidable. The workload suddenly gets so great that normal hours won’t cut it and you’re required to pull an all-nighter. There are plenty of methods used to help people get their work done during the late hours without dozing off. In this article, we’ll take a look at the best ones, and dispel some myths in the process.
To ensure that you’re able to work the whole night without sleep, it is essential that you follow these steps.
- Avoid caffeine
Contrary to popular belief, caffeine is not a good idea during an all-nighter, and it is vital that you avoid any products containing caffeine. Although it will give you a buzz, it’s only an unnatural and unhealthy temporary buzz, which will be followed soon by a crash. Caffeine filled beverages like coffee or soda will also dehydrate you, and you can’t work when you’re dehydrated.
Instead, try eating fruit or drinking coconut water for a natural pick-me-up, the latter being especially useful for its high electrolyte content.
- Drink lots of cold water
It should go without saying that in order to work effectively you need to be fully hydrated. Two glasses of cold water an hour will keep you not only refreshed, but also needing to urinate regularly, which will help a lot when trying to avoid sleep.
- Break hourly
Just because you’re putting yourself through the strain of an all-nighter, doesn’t mean you can’t allow yourself to take breaks. Take a 5-10 minute rest every hour while making sure to look away from your computer screen during this time.
- Get moving and breathing
For every moment you’re sitting, barely moving at your computer throughout the night, you’ll feel yourself getting drowsier and drowsier. If you don’t use your break times to get up and move around, you’re going to struggle to stay up all night. It doesn’t really matter how you move, as long as you do!
You could walk, trot, skip, jump, squat, dance… anything! Just get your heart racing and blood pumping. Even as little as 3 minutes every hour would be enough to increase your chances of making it through the night.
It’s also important that your oxygen intake remains high. This can be difficult when you’re tired and sitting, as it lowers your heart rate and leads to frequent and shallower breaths, the cause of yawning.
During your breaks, and even while working if possible, take deep and deliberate breaths in through the nose and out the mouth.
As you’ll no doubt already know from sitting in your desk chair all day every day, staying in one place for too long leads to various aches and pains. Imagine having to deal with these annoyances at 3 a.m. when you’re already behind schedule and starting to feel a little grumpy.
So, in order to avoid these distractions, it’s important to take preventative action by stretching as regularly as possible. There are many videos on Youtube showing how to stretch or do yoga while sitting at your desk.
- Pinch yourself
A bit of an unorthodox method perhaps, but this has been proven to work for many people.
Pinching yourself whenever you get distracted can be a really great way to help keep your focus fully on the work at hand. Your brain will associate losing concentration with the pain of being pinched, and subconsciously you’ll stop being distracted.
This method can also work if you apply it whenever you start feeling drowsy.
- Eat protein rich, clean food
Sugary, processed, heavy foods are not wanted here. They’ll make you feel bloated and, more importantly, sleepy. Things like uncooked, unsalted nuts (especially almonds) are clean and high in protein and are great for snacking during late nights. Nuts which have been roasted or salted in any way, however, are no good as they’ll also make you feel uncomfortable and drowsy.
Following just some of these methods will no doubt help you on your quest of pulling an all-nighter, but following all of them is an almost guaranteed recipe for success.