How Do You Stay Awake After an All-Nighter?

Medically Reviewed on 8/6/2021
how to stay awake after an all-nighter
After an all-nighter, you may struggle with intense drowsiness. Follow these 10 tips for staying awake and alert the next day

It’s never a good idea to go without sleep. But we all have done it before at some point in our lives, sacrificing sleep on the altar of our careers, school exams, or sometimes just the fun of partying all night.

But once your adrenaline wears off and you need to go to work or school the next day, you may find that surviving after an all-nighter can be an unbearable experience. 

If you’re struggling to get through the day, here are some tips that may help you keep your eyes open after staying up all night.

10 tips for staying awake after an all-nighter

  1. Take a cold shower: Nothing jolts your body awake like a cold shower. It can help signal to your body that bedtime is over and it’s time to face the day ahead.
  2. Eat a healthy breakfast: A breakfast of eggs, whole grains, and fruits can help kickstart your metabolism and help you start your day on a good note. Avoid sugar, fried foods, and candy bars for breakfast, no matter how tempted you are.
  3. Go for a quick walk: It may be the last thing you want to do when you’re tired, but getting your body moving can help increase blood circulation and provide you with some energy for the day.
  4. Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help flush out the remnants of any alcohol you may have had the previous night. Staying sufficiently hydrated can help you avoid the fatigue that comes with dehydration and make you more alert.
  5. Have your coffee early: Not only is drinking caffeine a stimulant for your brain, but its smell can also help combat sleepiness. However, stick to drinking your cup of coffee earlier in the day and avoid having some late in the afternoon, as this could interfere with your sleep later.
  6. Switch on the lights: Light helps your body stay alert, so keeping your windows open and your workspace bright can help you stave off drowsiness. 
  7. Order your tasks by priority: Get your important tasks done when you have energy, and save simpler tasks for when you may be a little tired or less likely to focus.
  8. Chew gum: Studies have shown that chewing gum may be associated with enhanced attention. Choose sugar-free gum and chew throughout the day.
  9. Use aromatherapy: Certain odors can be invigorating. Try using essential oils and sprays with rosemary or peppermint to give you an extra boost when you need it.
  10. Team up: It’s easier to stay awake if you have social support. Call your friend and ask them to drive you. Ask a coworker to prompt you awake in case you doze off in a meeting.

How does sleep deprivation affect your health?

Sleep is vital for your body to function properly. Even one all-nighter can have grave consequences on your mood and physical health. Sleep deprivation can:

  • Impair decision-making and problem-solving skills
  • Affect memory
  • Restrict creative thinking
  • Cause stress and irritability
  • Make you more prone to traffic and workplace accidents

Sleepless nights can also result in increased cortisol levels, which may:

  • Increase blood sugar
  • Affect blood sugar levels
  • Make you more prone to weight gain

How to recover from an all-nighter

After you survive an all-nighter, show your body some love and get some well-deserved rest that night. Here is how you help your brain and body recover from the harmful effects of staying up all night:

  • Get good sleep: Recovery sleep is essential after an all-nighter, so get back to a consistent sleep schedule as soon as possible. You need at least 7-9 hours of quality sleep for good health, maybe even more if you are sleep-deprived.
  • Don’t make it a habit: The adverse effects of sleep deprivation build up over time and can be damaging to your body. Don’t have multiple all-nighters one after the other or make it a habit.
  • Practice good sleep hygiene: Take a warm shower, put on soft music, and avoid looking at your devices as you wind down for bed. Drink some chamomile tea, dim your lights, and wear soft, breathable pajamas to increase your chances of getting a good night’s sleep.
  • Plan ahead: If more deadlines are looming, try to get on top of your tasks ahead of time and don’t procrastinate, which may lead to another all-nighter.
  • Adapt: If you are on shift duties, try to adapt your sleep schedule to your work schedule so that you get enough sleep each day.


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Medically Reviewed on 8/6/2021