A Healthier Recipe for All-Nighters

Staying awake all night is never healthy, and I do not endorse it. I may have permanently impaired my memory and shaved 15 years off of my life by sleeping so little through high school and college. Sometimes, however, all-nighters need to happen. Beyond pure determination, optimism, and focus, most people need a little outside help to get the job done.

Everyone uses a different method. Most people go straight for caffeine. The issue? Short-term punchy solutions like caffeine, sugar, cocaine, or other psychostimulants can really shake the body and falter the mind. Coming down from these substances will surely game you over. If you can continue to pace them out to keep the buzz alive, more power to you. In extreme circumstances, I’ve taken a small sip of coffee or an energy drink every 20 minutes to keep fueling the fire. Keeping pace takes a lot of calculated effort; too fast or too slow may fail you completely or spin your system in the wrong direction. I suggest you avoid uppers altogether.

Over the years, I discovered a few natural solutions far more effective and less destructive than stimulants. A generous helping of vitamins B and C through supplements, juice, or fruit can boost your energy, antioxidize your body, and keep your immune system on its feet. Apples and orange juice got me through college. Moreover, you can leave lights on, fight yawns, and move your body as much as possible. Keep the body and mind active.

The real secret weapon? Drink water. A lot of water. Water keeps you cool, hydrated, and toxin-free. A large volume of water will keep your organs working overtime for you. Yes, that means frequent urination. Annoying? How many times have you had to wake to go to the bathroom? When it comes to sleep, your bladder is boss. Fill that thing nonstop, and it will keep you awake. I consumed 139 fluid ounces of water on my 16-hour-straight drive from Los Angeles to Denver today; in part with good conversation, those water bottles kept me sharp and alive. I made it in one piece and with energy to spare. But now, after 36 hours with hardly any rest, it’s time for me to go to sleep. Good night.