One of my favorite stories is about how Temple University chose their mascot. In the past Temple was a night school. This allowed students to work during the day and finish their studies at night. Because of this the students were nicknamed “Night Owls.” The name stuck and Temple was the first school to adopt the Owl as their mascot. I have always loved this story because I consider myself to be a night owl because I feel more effective working at night and have trouble sleeping (I’m actually writing this blog at like 2 a.m.).
My sleeping troubles turned out to be an asset because the past 7 years I’ve been pulling all nighters to be able to finish my work or study for a major exam (usually because I always end up leaving work for the last minute or I’m just too “busy” during the day). Over the years, I perfected my all night sessions.
These are all my techniques i use to have an effective all night study session(Obviously proven for me, but may not be applicable to everyone):
- Have a realistic list of work that you want to get done.List major chapters of an exam or outline the essay you have to write before starting. If it is a project that will take you a week, I’d recommend just sleeping.
- Sip your energy drink or coffee, don’t chug. It’s not that sipping is more effective than chugging, it’s the fact that if you chug an energy drink you are more likely to crash.
- Have food the whole time. I recommend Pizza or any type of carb because the brain relies on glucose to operate effectively.
- Feeling Sluggish? Try a caffeinated nap. Set an alarm for 20 minutes and drink some coffee before a nap. Caffeine takes 20 minutes to dissolve in your body so when you wake up it will make you feel refreshed. This actually takes time to master. I find it to be the most effective when I use the 4-7-8 breathing technique to fall asleep quickly.
- Don’t believe in the Caffeinated Nap? If you have more time to spare but you’re still set on that all nighter set your alarm for 90 minutes and nap. Sleep cycles, on average, last about 90 minutes, so if you wake up at the end of a sleep cycle you’ll feel more refreshed.
- Avoid distractions. I personally like to turn off notifications on my phone. If you can get your work done quickly you can reward yourself with some sleep.
- Vivacious Beats. Upbeat music helps you stay up. I recommend instrumentals however as lyrics can get distracting.
- Try to plan for some sleep. It’s not gonna be great if you learn all the material for your test but you can’t concentrate the next day because of lack of sleep.