The Ultimate Guide to Pulling an All Nighter

The Ultimate Guide to Pulling an All Nighter

With exams and end of year assignments rapidly approaching, it’s highly likely you are going to have to pull an all nighter or 12. Maybe you’ve had to pull one due to your terrible time management, or your ability to procrastinate literally any university related task, or maybe you have to binge watch a semester's worth of lectures before an exam. Sure, sinking Mavs with the boys and your mediocre one night stand was more important, but you have played the ‘dead grandma’ card far too many times to ask for an extension. Nonetheless, do not stress. Because rather than doing my own work, I have taken the time to curate this perfectly planned, scientifically proven guide to pull the ultimate all nighter and get your shit done. So sit back and read on. 


Don’t Actually Drink Any Caffeine

Yes, that’s right. You probably all think I’m crazy, and that what I’m suggesting is downright illogical and prosperous. But, hear me out. 

The entire purpose of an all nighter is to cram and finish a project or an assignment which you are yet to complete. You want the most amount of energy and will power humanly possible, and shockling, you will not find this is caffeine. Why may you ask? Because according to a scientific website which I did incredibly extensive research on, caffeine will only give you energy and productivity for a short period of time. Yeah sure, you may be focused and hyper aware for a couple of hours, but then it’s all downhill from there. 

Instead opt for some other options. Like a nice fresh green tea which has lower levels of caffeine, keeping your energy levels at a steady pace, or cold cup of water. Hell, you could even down a shot of tequila if you’re feeling freaky, or pull a Bear Grylls and drink your own piss if you’re really wanting a wake up call. 

Pro tip: Another name for sparkling water is Wake Up Bitch juice. If you’re not used to the taste, sparkling water can taste kind of shit, but trust me when I say it’ll give you an energy drink-like placebo effect.


Find a Spot

Finding a spot is perhaps one of the most crucial stages in pulling an all nighter. It’s where you are going to be for the next however many hours of your life, and really sets the tone and vibe for the rest of the evening. 

The perfect spot can range from person to person. Some folks enjoy the towering ceilings and people watching opportunities of Central Library, although this could be an area full of distraction if you bump into your mates. Other folks enjoy St Dave’s, the 24 hour hidey hole full of night dwellers. These options are perhaps the best for concentration and focus, given that you won’t be hearing your horny hall neighbours or loud flatmates all night. Another benefit to being in one of these spaces is that you cannot get distracted by Netflix, or scroll aimlessly through Facebook. You’re being watched, studying with the late night elites. They can smell fear and intimidation, so you better fucking hustle. 

If you want somewhere private and comfy, but need accountability from taking a six hour nap, then teaming up with a friend or flatmate can be a great idea. Pick a flat, occupy a corner of their lounge for the next 24 hours, and be each other’s babysitter. 

Pro tip: Why not do both? Camp out in a corner of St Daves with a friend or two. That way you can go for a crisp night walk and not have to worry about being locked out.


Calm your Nerves 

It is usually at this moment, after you have done your prior all nighter preparation, that panic and anxiety will begin to grow. You sit down and look at your work, realising you have well and truly fucked yourself, a ‘stitch up’ as some may call it. You begin to wonder, how the hell will I do this in such a short amount of time? You begin to think of ridiculous excuses - can I pull the dead grandma card again? Is it worth a 5 percent decrease? 

I’m here to tell you that no, it is not. You have come this far, do not pussy out now. To calm your nerves or anxieties, simply look at the task in front of you and break it down into small, more manageable pieces. Why not challenge yourself: 500 words per hour - unedited - followed by a fifteen minute break, followed by editing the garbage 500 words you just wrote. Rinse and repeat. From there, you can begin to make steady progress on the task ahead, chipping away at it as the night goes on. 

Pro tip: I’m being deadass serious, but going for a sporadic sprint does wonders for your nerves. It’s like having a cigarette, but your shortness of breath is due to being unfit instead of nicotine. 



It is at this point in the all nighter you are well and truly beginning to question your life choices. What better way to question your life choices and send yourself into a spiral of existential dread that you just do drugs. 

Now, this may seem a little crazy and irrational, but it is more common than you may believe. The most popular is obviously your classic No-Doz, which aren’t really hard drugs per say, they’re more a beginner option. But if you really want to send yourself, ritalin is the answer. According to Healthline, ritalin influences the levels dopamine and norepinephrine in your brain. I don’t know what those actually are, but they seem like big and important words. This makes you more simulated and increases your levels of activity, meaning you can successfully pull your all nighter. Some may recommend not using this as it leaves you with dizziness, nausea and a compromised immune system, but you’re an Otago student who probably parties too much and lives in a shit flat, so chances are you already have the symptoms listed above. 

Pro tip: Don’t do drugs, stay in school.


Get Turned On

It was only a matter of time before this tip made the rounds. If you wanna stay awake and alert, simply get aroused. Chuck a wank in the bank or, if you have a situationship partner, then never fear, just send that cheeky snapchat. In just a few moments, you will begin to feel replenished and ready for the task ahead in more ways than one. 

Pro tip: Adult Toy Megastore currently have 38% off of their Satisfyer Pros. You’re welcome.


Incinerate Your Throat into a Thousand Tiny Pieces 

It’s time to quite literally add a little bit of ‘spice’ to your all nighter. In order to awaken your taste buds, and in turn, yourself, simply demolish some spicy foods. It could be a leftover curry or those little packets of Mi Goreng. If you are a wild one, then just go ahead and eat a whole chilli or take a shot of sriracha. Yeah sure, it may cause your intestines and throat some pain, but not as much pain as your lecturer will be in after reading your half assed assignment. So go on, swallow some spice hard and fast, baby. 

Pro tip: Buy some Big Red gum if you’re too lazy to cook. They still sell them at the Caltex on North Road.


Just Get Some Time Management Skills

This is the most simple, yet perhaps most unachievable part of pulling an all nighter. It’s just having really good time management so you don’t even have to pull an all nighter in the first instance. According to one student, who actually has time management skills, the reason she embodies this rare trait is due to the fact that she “doesn’t function well on little sleep” which is a pretty good point. Realistically, no one reading this article functions well on little sleep, you’re just a fucking daredevil. This student also said it's important to focus on quality over quantity of work, so it is better to take some time and chip away at things slowly to ensure you are putting your best foot forward. Can’t relate. 

Pro tip: Go to bed. No, you won’t get a ‘second wind’.


Ask for an Extension

Despite your best intentions, half assed dedication and blind optimism, I present to you the final step in pulling the ultimate all nighter. Just ask for an extension, lazy bastard. We all knew it was coming to this, it’s just that neither of us wanted to admit it. Will this make your lectures disappointed? Yes. Are you afraid of disappointing them because you used to be the ‘smart kid’ in school and got along really well with your teachers, even though you didn’t ever really study, and you crave that same kind of nurturing relationship, forgetting the fact that maybe you’re just not as cute and likeable as you used to be and actually, you should stop relying on what other people think of you for your sense of self worth? Also yes. 

Pro tip: You can apply for Special Consideration if you suffer unexpected and significant impairment (such as a serious illness or death of a close relative) within two weeks of your exam or internal assessment. 

This article first appeared in Issue 21, 2020.
Posted 4:30pm Sunday 4th October 2020 by Annabelle Vaughan.