Just an example of the lovely faces you might make during your all-nighter. Photo courtesy of SXC.HU

Getting swept up in the rush of the semester is easy. What’s not easy is that crucial week we like to call “Finals Week” that strikes fear in the minds of many. People cry. People consume obscene amounts of caffeine. People even lose sleep.

But if the latter is the case with you and you need to pull an all-nighter, here’s my method of getting through this special kind of hell that is final exams. Aaaaaaand let’s go!


1. Start with this song. Just do it. You’re going to need something as a motivator/means to pump you up for the last sprint of academia for the semester. (Also, it’s Drake, so obviously.)

2. For real, though, start with a cup of coffee (read: NOT RED BULL OR MONSTER) around 10 or 11 p.m. This should give you a good buzz for prime productivity. The key: don’t over-caffeinate.

3. Begin your studies! I usually do 45-minute increments of work with stretch/walk-around breaks in between.

4. 1 a.m.: HUNGER STRIKES, at least for me. Food is fuel, so you’re going to need snacks throughout the night. Healthy snacks (fruits, veggies) are usually my go-tos for quick energy and a quick fill. Also, be sure to stay hydrated throughout the night with water and/or hot tea.

5. Sleep deprivation will almost definitely set in between 2 and 2:30 a.m. Keep studying! You can do it!

6. Around 3 or 4 a.m., have a bigger snack. I’m a huge fan of breakfast foods, so cereal/scones/muffins must be kept on-hand for desperate situations such as these.

7. Give yourself a break. Take a walk around your house (or wherever you’re studying), read something –– just do something else to keep your mind off studying, even for 15-20 minutes.

8. Starbucks opens at 5:30 a.m. Just saying. When I’ve pulled all-nighters in the past, I make it a goal to be the first one in the door. A change of venue can freshen the mind. Trust me: you’ll need coffee around this time.

9. Ace your final or turn in that long, drawn-out project when it’s due.


This was my method for pulling all-nighters during past semesters, and I definitely made my fair share, complete with a lovely sleep coma around 6 p.m. the following day. It might not work for everybody, but it worked for me and left me feeling only slightly sleepy throughout the next day.

DISCLAIMER: Don’t do this if you don’t have to! Early prep for final exams and projects is key, but in times of extreme project overload or accidental (woops!) procrastination, it’s worth a shot.

What are some of your methods of pulling successful all-nighters?

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