How To Pull an All-Nighter

How To Pull an All-Nighter

I hope you’ve been able to read through my current blog series about adjusting to life as a graduate student and getting used to the many changes that occur when you come from either undergraduate school or the work force and start your graduate career. As part of the transition, sleeping schedules tend to change and, most of the time, worsen, the more time you’re in grad school. However, there are plenty of ways to adjust your sleeping patterns, no matter what your usual sleeping schedule looks like. If you didn’t get a chance to read the first part of adjusting to graduate school by getting better sleeping habits, then take a look at it HERE. For this post, I want to give some healthy tips of how you can break those sleeping habits in healthy ways.

It can be dangerous to get out of a healthy sleeping routine, especially if it took a while to establish one, but I understand that all-nighters are necessary sometimes. I only suggest all-nighters in certain circumstances and for people who know how to pull all-nighters in a healthy way. If you feel that you need to stay up all night to prepare for a test or to finish a project, only make this a rare occasion, and don’t depend on these types of nights to get you through grad school. Good sleep is extremely important, and lack of it will hinder your focus and performance in school. Check out the infographic at the bottom of this blog for more info on all-nighters, including short- and long-term effects.

1. Set up your workspace.

The way you prepare for all-nighters will determine if you will succeed in staying up all night and getting all your work done. First, decide where you will spend your time (e.g., bedroom desk, dining room table, library desk, etc.), and bring all materials to that place (e.g., food and drinks to last the night, schedule for the night, and needed study materials).


2. Start working as early in the evening as you can.

One of the keys to staying up all night is starting your work early enough so your body can ignore its normal sleeping time for instance, if you usually go to bed between 10:00 and 11:00, start studying/crossing thing off your list around 7:00 or 8:00, maybe even earlier.

3. Take short breaks, refuel, and get your blood pumping.

As you continue throughout the night, your body will want to go to sleep, but remember why you are doing this in the first place and visualize your end goal that you wanted to reach by the end of the night. More practically, stay focused by taking a short break each hour or two to eat a snack or walk around the room.

4. When it's all over, let yourself sleep.

When you cross everything off your list, allow yourself to fall asleep, and when you do, give your body the time it needs to rest and refresh itself. For more tips about pulling successful all-nighters, read this article from

5. Don't make all-nighters a habit.

If you have to pull an all-nighter, remember all the work you put into making a healthy sleep routine. As soon as you can after staying up all night, get back into your routine so that your body can get back into its schedule. Need more tips about succeeding in grad school? Read our articles on the Succeeding in Graduate School page. How successful have you been in pulling all-nighters in the past? Are you preparing for one in the near future? We’d love to read your responses in the comment section below.




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