It’s 10 p.m. and you just got home. Or, you got home earlier and were just procrastinating until now. Either way, you look something like this:
But you can’t go to sleep yet because there are four papers with your name on them that all have to be turned in by various times tomorrow.
So you can’t actually go to sleep now. But you really, really want to…
This is going to be a long night.
When you’ve finally made that conscious decision to start that perfect all-night marathon, here’s a guide to what you should do. Follow these steps, and you’re guaranteed a pain-free night. At least, as pain-free as anyone pulling an all-nighter can be. So,
STEP 1: Clean your room.
And by room, I mean your desk. You want to stay as far away from your bed as possible. It doesn’t matter how close you and your bed are, you are not getting into that motherfucker because you will want to sleep, no questions. You are conditioned to thinking that bed = sleep, so if you want to stay awake, you avoid your bed.
Feet on bed, okay.
Using bed as back support, okay.
Full body contact with bed, NOT OKAY.
STEP 2: Comfort? PSH. TURN THAT HEATER DOWN LOW.
It’ll keep you awake.
There is a recurring theme here about staying awake, but that’s the end goal, after all. Stay awake all night in freezing temperatures. The blood will be forced through your veins because you yourself will want to move around more often for warmth. Better to be freezing and focused than warm and loopy.
STEP 3: Take the anxiety and/or stress that you have and turn that into adrenaline instead.
It will ultimately work better than caffeine since it is directly going to your fight-or-flight reflex. In this case, you’re fighting the urge to sleep and flying towards the end goal of getting all your papers finished. It works way better than caffeine because it’s also 100% natural and produced by your body. The downside, of course, is feeling like shit in the morning.
STEP 4: Caffeine.
Make it strong tea, strong coffee.
Make it taste as bad as possible–you don’t want to enjoy the torture of forcefeeding yourself coffee because it’ll make you relax and be sleepy.
It’s bad enough that it’s a warm drink. Adding milk and sugar will just make the Make sure you have enough to last the night. Also helps to wake you up in the morning because the caffeine will have made its way into your brain by then. It works in tandem with the adrenaline to give yourself a real kick when it’s late at night and you’re just about pooped. Sometimes, if it’s strong enough, it’ll put you into a trance-like autopilot state where you know nothing but “get shit done.”
STEP 5: Music.
Rave music, trashy pop music, angry rap works best. Video game music also works, if you’re into that. White noise will only make you sleepier and music that you actually like will make you less concentrated. Look for music that is meant to be stimulating but not too distracting.
I like to use Broadway for math, grunge and rap for art projects, Vocaloid for science labs, Friends episodes for Gov, and pop music for English essays. It also helps you to focus.
STEP 6: You should have one really bright spot in your room: the place your working.
Your desk lamp, most likely. Keep everything else dark. You’ll focus better. Your eyes will be automatically drawn to that bright spot, plus you won’t want to look away because that means you’ll be blind. Which is way too similar to sleeping. Duh.
STEP 7: Move frequently.
But make sure you keep it simple. Don’t expend unnecessary energy. You need all of that shit for your essays that still need to be written. Why are you reading this anyway? You’re just procrastinating even more. You should really start doing those essays.
I’m also an enabler. Meh.
STEP 8: Keep everything you need close at hand.
Moving too much will make you more tired.
STEP 9: Quit procrastinating.
You’re only making it worse for yourself. So you should go work. Now.
We all suffer.
So, good luck, have fun. Please don’t die. Good luck dealing with the after-all-nighter-hangover. It’s worse than getting blind, flat-out drunk.
TL;DR: DOING IT IS SUCH A BAD IDEA.