Pulling an all-nighter can sometimes be a necessary, albeit evil aspect of life. As a hardcore procrastinator myself, I've had to pull my fair share of all-nighters after pushing off homework assignments and projects for way too long, until I'm pressed against the deadline with no other option but to chug coffee and stay up all night. But as most procrastinators know, it's not the all-nighter that'll kill you; it's the following day, when you're so tired, it feels like your eyes are bleeding. Figuring out how to feel awake after an all-nighter can feel like a science, because it technically is. Understanding the science of restfulness is the single best thing you can do to fuel your all-nighters — or, at least, survive them.
To be clear, pulling an all-nighter is literally never a good idea: Research from Texas A&M University revealed that, even if you're staying up all night to study for an exam, or prepare for a big work meeting, the cons pretty much always outweigh the pros. David Earnest, Ph.D., a professor with the Texas A&M College of Medicine who specializes in the study of circadian rhythms, explained,
Sleep deprivation's effect on working memory is staggering. Your brain loses efficiency with each hour of sleep deprivation.
With that said, you're always better off getting some sleep than none, which is why a prophylactic nap could be your best option when you have to cram all night the day before an important deadline. According to Proactive Sleep,a prophylactic nap is essentially a nap that you take in preparation of sleep deprivation, in which you try to get at least one full REM cycle in during your nap. If you can find a way to sneak in a quick 90 minutes of snoozing, you might feel a world of difference in the morning.
But if the sleep deprivation deed has already been done, fear not — just follow these six tips, and you'll make it through the day with as little fatigue-induced trauma as possible.