How To Successfully Pull A Revision All-Nighter

All-nighters aren’t the one. But sometimes, they must be done!

No one really wants to pull an all-nighter, but for many reasons, we may have to. It’s inevitable in some cases, but it doesn’t mean you have to suffer. In fact, some students thrive off of them.

If you need to pull an all-nighter, we ask that you don’t make this a habit. The odd one here and there won’t do much harm but in the long run, it can affect your cognition, mental health, and sleep habits.

For now, here’s how you can pull a successful all-nighter in time for your exams or deadlines and not be (too) tired the next day.

Have a plan

You’re gonna want to make some lists and plan for the night ahead. Some of the items on your list may look like this:

  • Revision notes
  • Bottles of water
  • Snacks
  • Highlighters
  • Practice exams

Essentially, this is your starting point. Set yourself up for success by having everything you need. Plus, our study planner apps guide may help set up a study plan for your all-nighter too.

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Take naps

Though you won’t be sleeping tonight, really, we do recommend having little cat naps where you can. Naps are proven to:

  • Boost your memory
  • Improve performance
  • Improve your mood
  • Increase alertness
  • Decrease stress

See it as a little refresh. Plus, it’ll help you power through the night.

Drink decaffs

You’d think having caffeinated drinks will help you get through the all-nighter. But this can actually go one way or the other, and you can’t afford the risk right now!

Why? Caffeine can make you too jittery and not in a good way. Not to mention you’ll crash pretty hard.

If you’re adamant caffeine doesn’t affect you then go on right ahead, but we’d highly suggest opting for decafs or reaching for a glass of water instead. Speaking of…

Stay hydrated

Hydration is key. Plus it makes it much easier on your body the next day and you won’t feel so rough (because we won’t lie, you’re gonna be absolutely exhausted by the end of this).

According to this study, lack of sleep can affect a hormone called vasopressin, which is responsible for regulating hydration levels. This is why it’s important to keep extra hydrated, as you’re going to be sleep-deprived.

Set reminders on your phone to have a sip of water if staying hydrated isn’t your strong point. Alternatively, if you must make a caffeinated drink, have a glass of water whenever you finish one.

Work at a desk

We know how tempting it is to work from your bed or on the floor, but we suggest working somewhere that won’t tempt you to just lay down and nod off.

Plus, we associate our desks with work, so you’re likely to stay awake and plow through your revision more at your desk as opposed to anywhere else.

Pomodoro technique

Working for hours and hours straight is inefficient. You need breaks to clear your mind. The Pomodoro technique is great because it means you work in short 25-minute bursts, followed by a five-minute break. Rinse and repeat four times and extend your breaks to 10 minutes. So on and so forth.

Plus, it gamifies your all-nighter. Challenge yourself to see how much you can complete or retain in 25-minute bursts. It’ll keep things way more interesting.

Balance snacks

We know you’re gonna get all the sugary snacks. After all, you’ll probably want them after feeling a little sorry for yourself for pulling this all-nighter. But life is all about balance, especially as sugar crashes are quite similar to caffeine ones too.

Make sure you have healthy snacks too like apples, bananas, or some overnight oats topped with your favourite treats. Or even better, get a few high-protein snacks, they’re packed with amino acids and will help keep you alert.

Play music

Have a few playlists lined up. One for while you’re studying and another for your breaks. This will keep things way more interesting and some people even study better with music.

Just make sure if it becomes distracting, or you’re spending way too long finding songs that you turn it off altogether.

Keep your room well-lit

Dark rooms = sleep vibes. We’re likely to fall asleep if our environment is dimly lit. So keep your bedroom lights on and get a good desk lamp for yourself. If you don’t have one, try to borrow one off a pal or family member.

We promise it’ll make a difference!

Turn off all distractions

It’s tempting to scroll through social media when you’re feeling a little bored during your all-nighter. But it’s essential to not do this too often (which is why the Pomodoro technique is so great for this).

Turn off your notifications, set your phone to Do Not Disturb, tell your friends and family you’re pulling the all-nighter. We’d go as far as investing in some noise cancellation headphones if you’re in a louder environment.

When you’re done — sleep

You’ve earned it hunny. Get straight to bed (assuming you’re not heading out to your exams after your all-nighter) and get those much-deserved 40 or so winks. You’re gonna need it.

Will you be pulling an all-nighter this exam season? Send us your tips on Twitter or a photo of your all-nighter set-up on Instagram!