As much as we hate it, it’s sometimes unavoidable to work late into the night. Whether it’s an exam that you’re cramming for, or a project that has been left to the last minute, concentration and focus always seem to evade us. In addition, the caffeinated rush from the five cups of coffee you just drank probably isn’t helping neither. No matter how much you detest being a night owl, it’s still important to know how to work efficiently at the wee hours, which is why you should read the tips below.
First of all, ditch the caffeine – all of it. No coffee, energy drinks, soda, chocolate, or processed food of any kind. Instead, get some fruit (apples are proven to have as much of a boost as a cup of coffee due to its natural sugars) or a granola bar, and drink lots of water. No matter what, stay away from high sodium or high fat foods, which can make you sleepier. If you really need a boost, get up and physically move your body. Do squats, jog in place, or even go for a late night run (on the treadmill, preferably). The exercise moves blood to your brain, making studying easier in addition to providing a burst of energy.
This is a no brainer, but is still important enough to be reiterated. Turn off all distractions and you will have a much easier time studying. Your phone goes inside your bag, not beside you on the desk. To increase concentration, work in small periods only. Set a timer, and after every twenty minutes or so, get up and move around. Every hour or so, take a quick snack break and drink some water. Staying hydrated prevents eye bags that are notorious aftermaths of a long night.
After a while, when the going gets really tough, consider taking a power nap. A twenty minute nap (be sure to set a timer!) refreshes your brain and makes you ready to start working again. However, if you find you just can’t keep going anymore, go to bed. There’s no point in wasting more time only to end up with work of poor quality. In fact, if you begin working the next morning with a clear head, you may end up finishing quickly with better results.
Working late is not entirely unavoidable. If you plan out your time well and never procrastinate, you may almost never have to stay up late. Realistically, you will get much better results if you space your work out over a long period of time. However, when you do pull an all-nighter, it’s important to know how to make the most of your precious time. If you follow the tips above, you can likely get most, if not all of your work done with minimal pain. Just remember to reward yourself with sleep once you’re done.