How to Successfully Pull an All-Nighter

published Oct 12, 2023
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Beautiful African American woman studying in the living room on a laptop computer while living with her boyfriend.
Credit: FluxFactory/Getty Images

All-nighters have become a quintessential part of the college experience for many students. And unfortunately, I’m not talking about going out until the sun rises — I mean staying up all night to study, prepare for a presentation, write a paper, catch up on your reading, or, sometimes, all of the above. 

Don’t get me wrong: Skipping a whole night of sleep — or even just staying up until the wee hours of the morning — isn’t good for you. According to Healthline, lack of sleep can have both long- and short-term effects on the mind and body, including forgetfulness, irritability, and trouble concentrating (you know, the opposite of what you want when you’re heading into a big exam or presentation). Students are much better off getting everything done during waking hours so they have enough time to rest every night. But that’s easier said than done, and sometimes, pulling an all-nighter might feel like the only option. 

Maybe you have three big assignments all due at once, or maybe you completely forgot about an upcoming exam. Or, let’s be honest, maybe you just procrastinated on your paper until the very last minute. Whatever the reason, if you feel like you’ve got no other option but to burn the midnight oil, it helps to set yourself up for success.

Over the course of my college career, I’ve become well-versed in the art of pulling an all-nighter, and I attribute a large portion of my success to a handful of products that made these study sessions more comfortable and more productive. 

Here are my recommendations.

1 / 10
was $89.99

When I graduate from college, I will dedicate my degree to my loved ones who supported me, my friends who made college a blast, and coffee for keeping me awake. Having a single-serve coffee maker in my space allows me to whip up a quick cup without taking too much time away from my all-night study sessions. If you’re not a coffee drinker, there are also K-cups for tea. (Of course, caffeine has lots of side effects, so try not to overdo it and talk to your doctor about the amount that’s right for you.)

2 / 10
was $25.99

Late-night studying means no natural sunlight coming in through your windows. Not only do you need light to, you know, see what you’re doing while studying, but it can also help keep you awake in the wee hours. With its sleek design and adjustable brightness levels, this lamp has been a college study essential for me since freshman year.

3 / 10
was $49.98

The last thing you want to happen while writing an essay at the 11th hour is for your laptop to run out of battery. Not being able to find an open outlet is pretty bad too, especially when you’re in a time crunch. College dorm rooms don’t always have extra outlets for plugging in your devices, but with this power strip, you can keep all of your devices charged in a sleek and compact way.

4 / 10

If you live in a dorm where candles aren’t allowed, essential oils are a great way to surround yourself with scents you love to make your all-nighter more enjoyable. Plus, research shows certain essential oils can help bring you energy, calm you down, or help you stay focused.

5 / 10

Sometimes pulling an all-nighter means you’re sitting in bed at 2 a.m. (Because there’s only so long you can sit in your uncomfortable dorm desk chair.) In this situation, having some back support is key, because otherwise you’ll find yourself sliding down farther, and farther, until oh no — you’re lying down and sleeping. Having a bed rest pillow like this one will keep you upright but still comfy.

6 / 10
was $9.99

One of the worst feelings in the world is being hunched over a desk, looking down at a textbook. Not only is it bad for your posture, but it can also result in some serious neck and shoulder pain. With this adjustable bookstand, you can say goodbye to aching muscles after a long study session. Now you can have your textbook at eye level, making it easier to flip through the pages and pay attention for longer periods of time.

7 / 10

Highlighters help draw your eye's attention to those important terms in your notes so they’re easier to remember — and colorful highlighters can make even the most dull study sessions bright. I love these highlighters from Sharpie because of the color variety, how smoothly they glide across pages, and the fact that you can use them as markers too.

8 / 10

Staying hydrated is crucial, especially when you’re staying up late at night to study. Being hydrated helps you remain focused, energized, and healthy — and while there’s no scientific proof of this, I think having an especially cute water bottle makes it more fun to drink water. I especially love this one because it has a straw built in — I can easily sip without taking my eyes off my assignments.

9 / 10
was $11.99

Pulling a successful all-nighter means staying organized. This notepad can help you keep track of what you need to accomplish during your study session. It’s great for people like me who get overwhelmed by deadlines and due dates. This is also a great way to stay on top of assignments and prevent the need for future all-nighters.

10 / 10
was $30.99

I can’t think of a better way to study than with a warm cup of coffee or tea right beside me. But when pulling an all-nighter, studying for hours means that cup isn’t going to stay warm for as long as it needs to. Thankfully, electric warmers exist! (Just be sure your dorm building allows them.) This warming plate plugs into an outlet and can keep your drinks warm for hours while you work.

Aza Akins


Aza J. Akins is an American bookish content creator and writer. After years of being a fan of BookTube and Bookstagram, in 2016 she launched her online platform. Since then, she’s become an influential voice in the online book space, with a passion for showcasing diverse and inclusive Black representation in literature. Her work spans across various mediums, from written articles and short stories to social media content and videos. In 2023, she delved into the world of podcasting, launching Crazy Stupid Cousins, a pop culture and relationships podcast with her cousin, Tymia Avery. As well as being a content creator, she’s a college student with postgraduate plans of becoming a children’s librarian. Aza’s got a soft spot for happily ever afters, Taylor Swift, and adorably fluffy cats.

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SchoolDelaware County Community College '23
FavesRom-coms, thrifting, painting, sewing, baking
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