Friday, June 15, 2012
How to Pull an All Nighter....Effectively
Organize: put all your study material in one place and organize it how you plan to study it, this way you don't have to worry about the fact that you can't find certain notes later.
Ice water: it'll keep you awake, keep it close at hand
Naps: only if you must and only then for 20 minutes and have someone else on hand to wake you up. I personally know I cannot wake up to an alarm clock so i usually take my naps in the morning when my roommates are heading to class so they can wake me up before they go.
Exercise: If you find yourself reading the same information three times without comprehending it's time for a break. Get up and take five minutes to do some excercise. Put on dance music and jump around, do some burpees, do lunges down your hallway. I sometimes just get on my bike and go on a 10 minute bike ride, the cold air'll wake you up. Alternatively I like to go to the gym and study on an exercise machine where there is no chance of my falling asleep. We had a 24 hr gym by my house when I was in high school and that's how I got through taking a full college load on top of high school my senior year.
Caffeine: only if you really can't live without it and even that drink strategically. I make a huge pot the night before and stick it in the fridge then i drink it throughout the night. Not a huge cup at once so I'll crash but I fill up like 1/5th of my mug with coffee/creamer and sip it over the next hour and repeat throughout the night. If you plan on sleeping stop this an hour beforehand. I would honestly say leave off the caffeine if you can, especially if you have an exam, for project's you just turn it in and no one really cares but you need your brain awake and functioning for your exam. Try iced herbal teas instead.
Sleep: If you can try to get at least 2 or 3 hours of sleep at least. DO NOT do this right before you need to go to class, you'll wake up sleepy and feeling unprepared. Do it at the 1/2 way or 2/3's point of your all nighter. MAKE SURE you set alarms or coerce your roommate into waking you up.
Food: snacks help, I stick to crunchy snacks full of protein that'll keep me up. Lay off the heavy carbs, they'll just make you sleepy. I do flax chips with tofu cream cheese, protein drinks, peanut butter and apples, etc. My sister used to live off of fried egg sandwiches during finals. Whatever works for you.
Light: I take every light that can be spared in the apartment and stick it in the living room. It keeps me awake.
Cold: Leave the windows open, don't use a blanket, you'll get goosebumps and be unable to sleep. You can also try putting ice cubes over your eyelids for a few seconds. Cold showers also help or just splash your face with cold water.
Fear: I hate being alone; I start imagining noises and get super paranoid. So to keep myself awake sometimes I'll watch 10 minutes of a horror movie to keep myself somewhat paranoid so I couldn't fall asleep anyways.
Music: Choose your music wisely. Lyrics usually distract me so I go with movie soundtracks, there's usually enough variety to keep me awake. I can't do classical, I just associate it with somewhere comfortable I should be sleeping. Techno/trance is also fun just make sure to grab something without lyrics. My last resort is usually heavy metal, it's kind of hard to fall asleep to.
Talk to yourself: no ones watching. Say the information out loud then make yourself repeat it without looking down at the paper. Act as if your giving a presentation or a seminar and are having to give the information to an audience who knows nothing about what you're taking about. Explain the process/problem/definition at hand. A friend of mine used to do a different accent (theatre major) for each one so she'd remember them as southern/english/whale (finding nemo!)/canadian etc.
Hope these help :) I've got a final in 2 hours so I'm gonna go put a few of these into practice. Wish me luck!