College where an all nighter can involve partying and studying simultaneously or separately. On any given night of the week college students are pounding away at their brains and sometimes their livers. In this post I give you the ultimate guide to surviving a long night of studying. First off I would like to state the importance of sleep in retaining information the night before a test. Staying up late the night before a test might provide you with some short term memory benefits, but if you want to retain the information for the long hall it is important that you give yourself some time to sleep before going in to take the test ideally somewhere between 6-8 hours. For an 8am class it would be best to begin your all night study marathon at 4 in the afternoon allowing you 8 hours of study time before you go to bed at 11pm. Now if you think 6 hours of sleep would be efficient you could probably get away with beginning your studies at 6pm and going to sleep at 1am.
Not the sleeping type. That’s okay I’m not either. Here is how I survive on 5 hours of sleep a night both as a college student and now as a parent. Water and caffeine are my two best friends. Water speeds up your metabolism and is a great way to get yourself off to a healthy and happy start. It is also a good way to keep you awake at night without having to worry about the hurtful side-effects that too much caffeine can bring. I try an keep my caffeine intake between the hours of Noon and 8pm, considering I usually don’t go to bed until sometime between 2am and 4am this is a good stopping point. For the rest of the night I stick to water.
A long study session needs appropriate brain food. During my four years at college I really enjoyed eating mushroom sandwiches (I was a vegetarian for 3 out of the 4 years I was in school). In addition, chips and salsa was a great snack. Some brain food tips:Protein, folic acid, and vitamin B are great for helping to build memory.
It is also important to take brain brakes, during which its important to get your body moving. Stretching exercises or a quick dance to your favorite song should do the trick. It might also help to get a change of scenery, take a quick walk around the building. Ideally you should take a 5min-15 min. break every 45 minutes to an hour. If an hour is too short a time span try and take a break every hour and 30 minutes at most. While in college I would take a break by either switching my study location, or making a quick run across the street to the corner store or H.E.B. It was often my way of treating myself for the long hours of study. When I couldn’t do that I would walk around the building of my apartment or call one of my friends who was also studying late into the night. Taking your mind off the subject is a great way to allow the information to sink in similarly to when you are sleeping.
In conclusion, if you want your late night study sessions to be worth the exhaustion drink water, time it so you can get some sleep, prepare protein rich snacks, and give yourself brain breaks. On the rare occasion when I was feeling the need to workout I would take a 30 minute break or so at the gym, where I would run or walk laps. Sometimes I would take flashcards and just walk the indoor track over and over. If your worried about gaining the freshmen 15 consider taking your studying to the gym.
What helps you get through a late night study session?