How to Pull a Succesful All-Nighter

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            The excitement for semester’s end is practically tangible as the days wind down and finals week approaches. The five-day marathon of tests known as finals is usually portrayed as a hectic, frenzied cram session filled with coffee, junk food and little sleep. All of these things are detrimental to your health if done for prolonged periods of time, but there is a smart and healthy way to get through an all-nighter (because let’s be honest, we’re bound to have at least one during the week).
            First of all, an all-nighter should not solely be driven by sugary or salty food that will send you on a tailspin of ups and downs throughout the night. This is unproductive and will cause your brain to fizzle out too quickly. Eat small snacks throughout the night that are low in sugar and salt, such as protein bars and fruit.
            The need for a coffee break is also inevitable, but limit your nightly beverages to only two or three small cups, rather than an enormous sugary Frappuccino. Coffee can be used as a stimulant and will help keep you awake, but adding too many condiments to the already low-calorie beverage will only hurt your chances of staying awake longer.


               After you've prepared your sustenance for the night, consider the setting that you plan on studying the night away in. Make sure your area is well lit (avoid harsh fluorescent lighting if possible) and that there are minimal noise distractions. Stay out of high-traffic zones and also consider what you are wearing. It’s a lot harder to focus when you are practically wearing pajamas, so find a blend of comfortable but not bed-ready garments. Comfortable shoes, socks, jeans and a T-shirt and hoodie can provide warmth (but not too much, because we all know snuggly=sleepy!)
            You’ve found your corner of the library or dorm that is perfect, and you’re dressed to smash through page after page of Powerpoint slides; now it’s time to get to business. It is unlikely that you’ll be able to power through the night with total focus, so be sure to break up your chunks of studying with 10-15 minute breaks. Studies have shown that studying for around 50 minutes and then giving yourself a 10-minute break is one of the most effective ways of retaining information, as long as that 50-minute period is focused and uninterrupted.

             Use tools like the Self-Control app for the Mac to prevent you from slipping up and losing precious hours on Facebook, and only bring the materials you absolutely need with you. Print everything you can so as to avoid using a laptop, and leave your phone back in your dorm room. This last tip might be the hardest, but if you have no other option there is very little distraction when you should be focusing on your notes or banging out the last of that awful paper. Finals week isn’t easy for anyone, but managing your time and not letting the worry of exams drag you down will help you navigate the experience painlessly.

Sophomore > Journalism and Sociology > Notre Dame

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