By: Rochelle Ceira, April 2015
Your professor or supervisor won’t buy the excuse, “Umm, I was up all night so my fuzzed up brain won’t let me do the tasks properly”. What you say won’t make sense to him (much like the previous sentence).
It may be because you partied all night and had no Cinderella curfew. Or, you had too much to do – or too much to think about. Sleep deprivation is a common problem among college students and many others who have “plenty on their plate”.
Fear not, Tom Cat! We won’t tell you that you need to drink a whole kettle of tea and insert toothpicks between your lids because those two tricks won’t work (fortunately). In fact, they didn’t work for Tom either.
Here are 6 ways you can survive an all-nighter:
Avoid a Place Full of Distraction: When you have your bed next to you, a T.V. remote on the table, roommates, family,or your favorite sofa, it becomes really hard to concentrate. Your sleepy head keeps focusing on the things you associate with sleep and comfort.
Your mind will cleverly direct you towards the less-tedious tasks which don’t require intensive brain activity (chores, watching a movie, etc.). Change your location by heading off to a peaceful or more focused environment that is distraction-free (and maybe not so comfortable). This could be the dining room, or a friend’s place.
Brighten Up The Lights: Thanks to our eye function, melatonin is produced in the dark and causes our blood pressure, glucose levels, and body temperature to drop which are the main physiological responses of sleep. According to neurologist George Brainard, “Light works as if it’s a drug. Except it’s not a drug at all.”
Increasing the lighting in the room should aid your productivity and send your brain a “do not sleep” signal. On the hand, in a darkly lit room you’ll probably fall asleep on your keyboard and catch up on those Zzz without even knowing it.
Take Short Breaks: You are no machine! If you feel awfully tired, take a short five-minute break. Walk around a bit and maybe breathe some fresh air. Your brain will be dying for more oxygen molecules. By time you are back, you’ll feel fresher than before.
If you’re pulling the all-nighter, let’s say due to a dissertation, it would be recommended more than ever to take breaks. After all, projects such as dissertations are quite lengthy and hectic. In fact, many would take dissertation help online, rather than pulling an all-nighter for it.
Crank Up the Music: This won’t work for someone who calls music a distraction. For others who use it while studying and call it “white noise”, the music should do well to keep you awake. Music that is fast and loud naturally works as a stimulator. You can experiment with other soundtracks while streaming on a website such as Songza. Avoid slow and soft music since they aid to sleep and relaxation -- and you don’t really want that right now.
Use Eye Drops: If you’re dealing with puffy or scratchy eyes, you might want to use an eye-drop for instant relief. You can buy clear eyes from the drug store or online. Or, if you have some rosewater at home that should work too.
Snack on Nutritious Low-Carbs: Whatever you do, don’t snack on those chips, chocolates, or pop-tarts. When it comes to drinks, avoid (yes AVOID) cola, coffee, and tea. You might be tempted to give yourself an instant sugar or caffeine buzz, but that buzz only lasts for an hour or two. Once you’re off the “high”, you’ll crash and feel even worse than before.
It’s best to stick to nutritious low-carb snacks such as fruits, peanut butter in a brown bread or vegetables. Nuts and proteins would do fine too.
About the Author: Rochelle Ceira is a teacher by profession specialising in the field of stats and analysis. Get in touch with her on FB.
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