Water, breaks key to surviving all-nighters

After staying up all night, a student falls asleep in her bowl of cereal on Sept. 14, 2014. (Photo Illustration by Caitlyn Massy | The Collegian)

Many students are unaware of the unhealthy side effects all-nighters can cause. If you’re a procrastinator, you’re far from alone. Whether it’s a biology assignment, finishing homework or preparing for an exam, why work on it now when Netflix and Instagram are right at your fingertips?

Unfortunately, it is thoughts like these that have led to a lifetime of sleep deprivation and regret.

According to an article from “Business Insider,” sleep deprivation negatively affects the brain’s memory, speed, accuracy, concentration and stress levels. Continuous lack of sleep can lead to health risks as it suppresses the immune system, making it easier for us to get sick and puts us at greater risk for diabetes from increased blood sugar levels by decreasing insulin production.

”No one should really go without at least seven or eight hours of sleep a night,” Mike Wegner, professional kinesiologist, said. “Many people don’t realize that it is unhealthy to get any less than that amount.”

Pulling all-nighters aren’t efficient or healthy, but it’s college and at one point or another the scenario is unavoidable. With that in mind, some helpful tips can ensure that you pull an efficient all-nighter and even survive the day after.

Watch the caffeine

When you start to feel your eyes get heavy, the first thing that might come to mind is caffeine. Whether its mocha latte’s or energy drinks, caffeine allows for a little boost to keep us going.

Be careful, because according to a Huffington Post article from 2012 titled, “What an All-Nighter Actually Does to Your Body,” too much caffeine can lead to anxiety, panic, stomach problems and irregular heart rhythms. Although we may feel energized and awake for a few more hours, the high amounts of sugar and caffeine will only last so long before causing our bodies to crash when those effects wear off.

Kelsey Middelkamp, graduate student in architecture, has experienced her fair share of all-nighters. Middelkamp combats the effects of all-nighters the day after by alternating between caffeine and water.

“If you just drink energy drinks and coffee and try to stay up all night, you’re going to get on a caffeine high, a sugar high and you’re going to crash,” Middelkamp said. “If you drink water, your body regulates itself better and helps your body realize it needs to focus and carry on to the next day.”

Set goals and reward yourself

Middelkamp said she likes to sets goals which are rewarded by tiny breaks throughout the night to help keep herself motivated.

“It really helps to get up and get out of my zone, that way I don’t go crazy,” Middelkamp said.

According to a 2012 article published on WebMD titled, “How to Stay Awake Naturally,” breaks are a crucial part of helping the body stay awake. Getting up and walking around, giving your eyes a break from the computer screen will decrease eye strain which causes fatigue.

Taking breaks can be a major relief when staying awake all night. Keeping the blood flowing throughout not only the sleepless night, but also though the next day is necessary when forcing your body to keep going.

Although there’s no magic pill or foolproof method to staying up all night and surviving the next day, there are ways to at least help your brain and body function efficiently and effectively as possible when life leaves you no choice but to stay up all night long studying.

“You kind of have to learn how your brain and body works and figure out what method for keeping yourself awake and alert works best for you,” Kelby Green, junior in nutrition and health, said. “Personally, I’m more of a morning person and I know that for me to do my best its always better for me to at least get a couple hours in and wake up early to study – but everyone is different.”

The best advice and option for all of us is planning, pacing and expediting your schedules and study habits to prevent the misery and poor health that goes along with the effects of an all-nighter. We all know that’s easier said than done, but try anyway.