A definitive guide to your all-nighter

so. much. redbull.


There's only one day to go, and you haven't quite made as much progress as you'd hoped on that essay. Or, more realistically, you've spent the last three weeks in a booze-induced haze of denial and desperation, and haven't even bothered to look at it yet.

Well, I've been there more than most, and have maintained a strong average of an all-nighter for literally every assignment I've ever done since the start of my degree. Admittedly, this is an awful habit I need to crack (though I wouldn't hold your breath), but as it stands, consider this an expert's guide to the successful all-nighter.

After all, deadlines are approaching, and you need all the help you can get.

Go big or go home

Just to clarify, when I say all-nighter, I mean the hardcore stuff. No holding out until 1am, before wandering home with your tail between your legs, willing to take that five per cent hit rather than persevere. No, I'm talking the real deal. If you're not willing to watch the sun set in the evening and then rise again in the morning as you work, then leave now. This is a guide for winners (or losers, depending on how you look at it, really).

Location, location, location

As they say, location is key, and the all-nighter is no exception to the rule. If you think that you can stay and work all night from the comfort of your own home, then you're kidding yourself; there's no chance of resisting the lure of your bed if you only have to walk up the stairs. Instead, make camp in the library, and block the comfort of your room from your mind – the desk is your home now.

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Really, I mean it – make yourself at home

If you're here for the long haul, then this is no time to worry about pride. Fluffy socks, baggy jumpers, your ugly glasses, possibly a pair of bedroom slippers – hell, maybe even a nice potted plant just to brighten up your desk: any and all are welcome in the cesspool of the 4am library. Cosiness is definitely key, but not too comfy – we wouldn't want you falling asleep at your desk now, would we?

Hydrate or die-drate, baby

It's tempting to load up on as much espresso and Redbull as your overdraft will allow and forgo water all together. But when your heart is beating mile a minute, you can't type for your shaking hands and you're heading to the toilet every 20 minutes, all you'll want is some of that classic H2O. Caffeine intake is a fine line to tread in the all-nighter, but you're best off sticking to no more than a few cans – hopefully your sheer desperation for that 60 per cent will help keep you motivated throughout the night.

Food is the key to success

Have a proper tea before you settle in for the night, but make sure it's nothing too stodgy. After that, stick to fruit and slow release carbs. Boring I know, but it's a marathon, not a sprint.

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Facebook is NOT your friend

If you were the kind of person who'd completed your assignment with more than 48 hours to spare, then you'd have no trouble in switching off your phone and blocking your notifications for the duration. However, you obviously have no modicum of willpower to spare, so it's time to change your passwords and lock your phone in one of the downstairs library lockers.

Please, for the love of god, reference as you go

Nothing, and I really mean nothing, is as bad as it hitting hour 27 without sleep and realising you've got no clue where you've got any of your quotes from. Plus, it'll pad out your word count, so it's a win-win.

Make sure to get a sunrise picture for your Insta story

Just so everyone knows how dedicated you are to the #grind.

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golden hour bongs differently

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Try and power through till the next day before the sweet, sweet reprieve of sleep

It'll probably be the worst day of your life, and woe betide you if you've got lectures, but not screwing up your sleep pattern for the rest of the week means it's a worthy sacrifice to make. Go to the gym, tidy your room, do a food shop, hit up the pub, or maybe even use the time to get started on the next lot of deadlines? Or maybe not.