How to Stay Awake After an All-Nighter

No one likes skimping on sleep and it is not a good idea either. Still, you have to do it on so many occasions – you may be studying for an exam, completing a project or doing something that cannot wait. While pulling an all-nighter will help complete your project, sleep deprivation will produce several negative effects, including poor cognitive function, negative moods, diabetes and obesity. The good thing is that you can learn how to stay awake after an all-nighterand minimize the damage.

How to Stay Awake After an All-Nighter

1. Take a Nap

To deal with sleep deprivation, you should consider taking a nap in the day. Research shows that you will have 34% fewer performance lapses if you nap for about 26 minutes. This will also keep you from showing signs of physiologic sleepiness. However, it is important to avoid sleeping for more than 45 minutes because this will make you feel groggy when you wake up. All you need is a slow-wave sleep and it takes about 10 minutes for your brain to enter this sleep stage.

2. Drink Caffeinated Beverages

Caffeine is always the answer to the question such as “how to stay awake after an all-nighter”. Depending on your body weight, you need about 100-200 mg of caffeine to get an extended boost in alertness. A 5-ounce cup of coffee will give you about 100 mg of caffeine. You may also consider taking OTC caffeine pills that are available in 100 mg and 200 mg doses. The best way to stay awake is to take your caffeine and take a quick nap for about half an hour. You will feel fresh when you wake up again. You can also consider consuming small amounts of caffeine throughout the day to take advantage of its stimulating effect.

3. Walk into Bright Light

Your body's clock adjusts itself considering the cycle of darkness and light. It means walking into bright light will make your body understand that it is no time to sleep. Stepping out in the sunshine for a few minutes will work even better.

4. Move Your Body

Try to be active in the morning. You can take a brisk walk to get your blood flowing. Exercise will also help boost your brainpower and make you feel energetic. If you are not in a position to exercise, you can simply go and engage in a conversation with someone to improve alertness.

5. Avoid Multitasking

Your working memory will not be at its best after a night without enough sleep. It is therefore important to avoid multitasking because you will not be able to handle things properly. Research shows that there will be a 38 % decrease in your working memory capacity if you have about 42 hours of sleep deprivation.

6. Stay Hydrated

You may feel tired because you are dehydrated. Keeping yourself hydrated is one simple way when learning how to stay awake after an all-nighter.While caffeine can improve alertness, it can make you dehydrated as well. You need to be smart and do not overdo when it comes to drinking coffee to improve alertness. You should keep a bottle of water with you and drink slowly throughout the day to prevent dehydration. If you have pulled an all-nighter working on computer, you may already be suffering from eye fatigue. Take a break and splash cold water on your face to relax your eyes.

7. Eat Wisely

If you want to stay awake after an all-nighter, you should avoid eating carbohydrates during the day. You will be better off snacking on protein-rich food. Eating carbs will make you feel relaxed but when you are already tired, carbs will make you even sleepier. You should avoid high GI carbs such as biscuits, confectionary, fruit juices and sugary drinks, but to include more lean protein foods in your diet.

8. Try Essential Oils

Essential oils help a lot in keeping you awake after staying up the whole night. You can make use of sweet basil, rosemary and the citrus oils, such as lime, lemon and grapefruit to stay awake. Use these oils in room vaporizers and you will feel more alert throughout the day. You can also put a few drops of bergamot or rosemary oil onto a loofah and rub it while taking a shower.

9. Keep It Cool

Let cool air come in your room. Open windows, lower the thermostat and turn on a fan to eliminate hot and stuffy air that makes you feel tired and sleepy. A cold shower will also help a lot.

10. Switch Tasks Often

If you keep doing the same task for extended hours, you are likely to feel tired and sleepy. You can switch tasks after every hour or so. This will keep your brain from feeling bored. Just make a list of things you want to complete during the day and switch between them after an hour to maintain the same level of alertness throughout the day.


Now you already know how to stay awake after an all-nighter, it is also important to understand that you should not stay up the whole night frequently. While an occasional all-nighter won't hurt you a lot, making it a habit will lead to chronic sleep deprivation and cause serious complications. You may even notice several emotional and physical problems, such as anxiety and a weakened immune system. Be sure to return to your normal sleep schedule once you have finished the task. 

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