How to Pull an All

This is a guide to pulling an all-in. It’s not easy, but if done correctly it can change the course of games and give you a huge endgame advantage that will make winning much easier for you in the future.

The “how to pull an all-nighter by yourself” is a process that can be done if you are in need of sleep. This article will teach you how to do so.

Man blue collar worker reading over barrel illustration painting.

The all-nighter is a term used to describe a period of time during which For college students, it’s like a rite of passage, particularly around exams. Even the elderly have to pull one off once and again, whether it’s to complete a professional assignment or drive through the night. In the previous six years, I’ve pulled a few all-nighters to finish a blog article for the following day. I’m not sure whether I’m crazy or devoted, or maybe crazy dedicated, since I’m my own employer and don’t officially have any fixed “deadlines.” It’s most likely simply insane.

Pulling an all-nighter isn’t the healthiest or most pleasant thing in the world (despite the fact that it may induce bliss), and it should be avoided whenever feasible. Even the most prepared student, however, may sometimes discover that their paper will take longer to finish than the number of hours remaining in the day.

We invited a collection of former Soldiers, Marines, and Special Forces veterans to discuss the strategies that got them through war and a variety of night-ops to gain a unique perspective on the ins and outs of pulling a successful all-nighter. These individuals served in the Navy SEALS, Green Berets, Army and Marine Infantry, and are now on staff at the BluCore Shooting Center in Denver, CO. (They requested that we only use their first names in order to maintain their identities.) Staying up through the night was a matter of life and death for these warriors, but their advice is as applicable to the civilian who wants to finish a job or school project. We’ve also included insights from sleep specialists and researchers in addition to their suggestions.

All-Nighters Should Be Avoided At All Costs

The first rule of pulling an all-nighter is to avoid it whenever possible! Sleep deprivation has a variety of negative consequences for your body and mind, including:

  • Concentration is lowered. Sleep deprivation causes the focus center of the brain to slow down. Not ideal for concentrated study periods.
  • Working and long-term memory are both harmed. Complex activities that need you to pay attention to one thing while keeping a number of other things in the forefront of your mind will test your working memory. Sleep deprivation not only affects this brain “scratchpad,” but it also affects your long-term memory. Our recent memories are moved to the neocortex to be cemented and preserved as we sleep. So, come exam time in the morning, all those things you learned all night could not be there.
  • Immune system is weakened. While working an all-nighter may help you finish that term paper, you risk being ill just before your American History exam later that week.
  • Cortisol levels rise. Pulling an all-nighter will most likely leave you frustrated and agitated. This is because when you’re sleep deprived, your body’s level of cortisol (a hormone secreted in response to stress) rises. Stress levels that are too high aren’t good for Spanish tests.
  • Testosterone levels drop. Our bodies create virtually all of the testosterone they need for the day when we sleep, as we explored in our series on raising testosterone. When you combine this with higher cortisol levels (another testosterone killer), you’ve got a formula for feeling less manly. It’s important to remember that testosterone isn’t simply for bulking up. Men with appropriate T levels have sharper wits and are more confident than their low-T counterparts, both of which are beneficial in a variety of situations.

Because of these mind-numbing effects, my advice to students is to avoid pulling an all-nighter if possible, and if you can’t, try to save it for writing papers. If you’re studying for an exam, you’re usually better off doing several hours of concentrated study followed by some rest – you won’t cover as much information, but you’ll have a higher chance of remembering what you studied. With a paper, sleep deprivation will still affect your writing, but there’s no avoiding the reality that completing it will take a specific number of hours — your paper won’t complete itself if you leave it half-finished before going to bed.


When You Have to Pull an All-Nighter

Vintage two people pull and all-nighter

So, pulling an all-nighter isn’t the most successful or long-term study or job technique. However, occasionally our best-laid intentions go astray, necessitating an all-nighter. When that happens, here’s how to remain awake for the duration and make the most of your 24-hour push.

In the Tank, Get Some Sleep

“Make certain you don’t get behind on your sleep.” If you know you’ll be pulling an all-nighter, try if you can save a few hours ahead of time. When you have to dive into your sleep reserves, the well becomes deeper. This is a fantastic idea.” Former Navy SEAL Eric

If you know you’ll be pulling an all-nighter ahead of time, attempt to go to bed and/or wake up early in the days coming up to it.

Even if you didn’t anticipate an all-nighter, you can still replenish your sleep tank with a “prophylactic nap,” as experts describe it. A nap of any sort improves memory, creativity, mood, alertness, and cognitive function, and preventative naps have been proven to be more helpful than numerous doses of coffee in preventing the negative consequences of sleep deprivation.

Longer is normally better when it comes to naps, but a 180-minute nap (which provides you two cycles that contain all the important phases of sleep) has been proven to be no more beneficial in improving cognitive function than a 90-minute nap in the short term (just one full cycle). The preventative nap sweet spot, according to nap specialist Dr. Sara C. Mednick, is an hour and a half because “it will take you through a complete cycle of sleep and bring you out in REM or Stage 2 sleep, helping you to avoid sleep inertia” (the grogginess you experience when waking up from a deep slumber). Mednick suggests napping during the hours of 1-3 p.m. and 1-3 a.m., since these are “‘perfect nap’ zones, when sleep cycles are properly balanced between REM and SWS” (Slow Wave Sleep).

Keep in mind that the benefits of a prophylactic sleep have a shelf life of approximately 8-10 hours.

Check read this page for additional information on what these sleep terminology represent, the incredible advantages of napping, and how to improve your naps for various scenarios.

Caffeine, Caffeine, Caffeine, Caffeine, Caffeine, Caffeine, Caffeine, Ca

“Caffeine is most effective when you aren’t already addicted to it. You don’t need to be concerned if you merely consume a few of glasses every day. If you consume a lot of coffee throughout the day, don’t expect the coffee you drink at night to be as effective.” -Eric

Surprisingly, all of the SPEC-OPS people we spoke with suggested ingesting coffee throughout the night. According to all of them, the key is to avoid caffeine the day before and the day before your all-nighter. Caffeine builds up a tolerance in your body and mind, so if you’ve been drinking coffee nonstop all week, it won’t have as much of an impact during your 24-hour vigil.


Eric also suggested adding a healthy fat to your coffee, such as grass-fed butter (which has more Omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed butter) or coconut oil. “It helps extend the coffee high,” he explains. When you put fat in your coffee, you’re putting medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs, in it. MCT might provide you a boost of long-lasting energy. This coffee + butter combo may also keep you full for many hours without requiring additional food.

Aside from coffee, there are a range of energy shots and beverages to choose from. To prevent a sugar crash, consider a sugar-free option. Rip Its — “a type of energy drink that was ALL over, over there!” Hunter, a former Marine infantryman, advised.

I’ve had good results with Military Energy Gum (previously Stay Alert Gum). Each piece of gum has 100 mg of caffeine (a 12 oz Starbucks coffee contains roughly 260 mg), and it gets into your system quicker via oral absorption than tablets or liquids, according to Wrigley. It gets to work immediately away and keeps you going all night long.

Regardless of the caffeine-delivery technique you pick, use it sparingly. Take smaller dosages more regularly rather than one large dose less frequently, which may lead to energy collapses. Every 2-3 hours, aim for 100-150 milligrams.

Nicotine is not approved by the Surgeon General.

“Is it good for you?” No. But none of them is capable of pulling an all-nighter. Soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines have been using nicotine for DECADES. It keeps you occupied and alert to some extent. If you’re accustomed to dipping a can a day, though, that late-night dip won’t have much of an impact on you. It can definitely assist if you are simply an occasional ‘dipper’ and take a dip or two late at night to complete a job by a deadline.” Former Green Beret Jeff

The dip suggestion came up often among the Spec-Ops people we spoke with, and I’m passing it along since it’s intriguing. Nicotine may be the least of two evils if you’re staying awake to perhaps avoid a bullet. However, if the only threat you’re facing is a C in Calculus, I’d stay away from the dip and smokes. Experts in the field of sleep medicine and physicians would agree.

Carbohydrates should be avoided at all costs.

“A substantial, carbohydrate-rich meal causes a collapse. Even the act of eating might cause a breakdown. Missing meals isn’t an option since you need to fuel yourself for battle activities. Pulling an all-nighter at work to complete a project or driving through the night, on the other hand, does not need any ‘fuel.’” -Eric

Experts in the field of sleep agree with this recommendation. When you’re up all night, stay away from carbohydrates and concentrate on protein and fats (nuts, beef jerky, etc.). Keeps you full and gives you long-lasting energy without crashing.

Get to work!

“Exercise, stroll, or even work while standing are all good options. Following an exercise, there is a physiological reaction that has been shown. Just make sure you don’t overwork yourself the night before your all-nighter.” –Jeff


“I would stroll about if I was on any form of outside security duty — TCP, gate guard, fire guard, or motor pool guard.” I performed push-ups, sit-ups, squats, or some other fast workout if I couldn’t walk around. The best technique to remain awake for lengthy periods of time was to keep the blood moving.” –Rob, a former infantryman in the Army

Physical exercise has shown to be one of the most efficient strategies to get through an all-nighter for me. Every 30 minutes or so, I try to get up and go for a stroll. I also alternate between sitting and standing at my work.

Create an uncomfortable situation for yourself.

“A little amount of stimulus to the pain receptors!” Jeff advises squeezing your thigh. Matt, a former Army infantryman and Air Force mechanic, loves to pinch his brow.

Using cold water, in addition to pinching, is another option to give oneself a dose of misery. Go to the bathroom and splash some on your face if you’re feeling sleepy. You can even take a cold shower if you really need to wake up. Try lowering the temperature as well; keeping your automobile or study place cool can help you remain awake.

Misery enjoys the company of others.

“Having some company may also be quite beneficial. You can find yourself in a scenario in the military where you have to remain ‘on-watch’ while others sleep. This would often occur after a long day at work. If you were to do the watch by yourself, it may get tedious. If you’re not cautious, this might lead to sleep. It might be beneficial to remain awake with someone else.” -Eric

Having someone else to talk to and joke with on a regular basis might help to wake up your brain. They may also hold you responsible for not falling asleep.

“Speed” that may be purchased over-the-counter

“We were once given some kind of legal/militarized’speed,’ but it was purely for testing purposes.” They administered it to us on base (I assume in Iraq) and then kept track of our vital signs throughout the evening. It was never truly given to us for an op. For a long time, I believe the Air Force has provided this to pilots on lengthy flights (or used to). The most amusing aspect of being on ‘legal speed’ was that EVERYONE had a PR (personal record) of some kind while working out that night!” -Eric

This one belongs in the category of “very intriguing but not (yet) practical for civilians.”

Eric was most likely referring to a substance known as Modafinil (also known as Provigil). Militaries all around the globe have been testing it as a means of extending troops’ capacity to perform without sleep. Modafinil was created to treat narcolepsy, but researchers have discovered that it permits healthy people to go without sleep without experiencing any negative consequences. Many Modafinil users believe it offers them a near-superhuman level of concentration. Modafinil, unlike other stimulants such as coffee, nicotine, or amphetamines, is less addictive, does not disrupt natural sleeping patterns, and does not create jitters or crash after usage. The US Air Force has started administering Modafinil to its flight crews on nighttime operations for the reasons stated above.


Modafinil is being used by a small but rising population of high-achieving people (Wall Street bankers, entrepreneurs, sports) to provide them a mental advantage and help them get through their demanding schedules.

Modafinil is only accessible with a prescription, so if you want to try it, you’ll need to speak with your doctor first. He or she will probably be hesitant to write you a script only to get you through a night of studying since it’s mainly used to treat narcolepsy or to assist people who work irregular hours because it’s mostly used to treat narcolepsy or to assist those who work irregular hours.

While there are no short-term negative side effects from taking the medicine, there is very little study on its long-term impacts. Modafinil’s mechanism of action is similarly unknown to scientists. They just know it does. For these reasons, experts advise against using Modafinil without a prescription. However, if you’re anything like me and find the topic of cognitive boosting medications (also known as nootropics) intriguing, you’ll want to keep a watch on the next study.

Recovering after an All-Nighter and Recovering from Sleep Deprivation

When you build up a sleep debt – the shortfall that occurs when you sleep fewer hours than your body requires – you are subjected to the aforementioned negative consequences. Fortunately, repaying your sleep debt may help you avoid these negative repercussions.

The Next Day: Remaining Alert

Eric described how he and his fellow Navy SEALs would work every night and then sleep during the day, and how he admires infantrymen “who didn’t have the luxury of sleeping all day like a lot of us SEALs!”

You won’t always be able to go straight into recovery mode after being up all night, such as when you complete one final in the morning but have another one scheduled for the afternoon. So, first and foremost, let’s discuss how to get through the day following an all-nighter. Try these strategies in addition to the ones described before – taking coffee judiciously, staying active, avoiding carbohydrates –

  • Take a strategic nap. Even a brief nap in the middle of the day may help alleviate the effects of sleep deprivation. However, you must do it in a systematic manner. When you’re exhausted, you’ll drift asleep more quickly and go into deep, REM slumber. If you wake up from this stage, you’ll have sleep inertia and be much more weary than you were before. So keep your naps to no more than 20 minutes. Consider adding a “caffeine nap” to the mix. You swallow a cup of coffee or another caffeinated beverage before collapsing for a 20-minute snooze. Caffeine depletes your body of adenosine, a sleep-inducing substance. Caffeine takes a bit to circulate through your system, so it has no effect on the quality of your slumber. Instead, it works in unison with the rejuvenation you’d receive from a regular power nap, making it simpler to get up and get moving.
  • Keep yourself hydrated. You will feel considerably better if you keep your system cleansed with water.
  • Keep your headlights on. Work in the brightest light possible; working in poor light will cause you to get sleepy. Exposing oneself to blue light is much better. Blue light has been shown to “enhance our cognitive capacities, including memory, attentiveness, response speed, and executive function,” according to Mark’s Daily Apple. Benefits you’ll definitely need after (or during) an all-nighter!

Around 24 hours after your typical wake-up time, you’ll be at your greatest worst. However, your body may naturally give you a second wind around 10 a.m. and again between 6-7 p.m., so keep anything especially tough to undertake that day for those times.


Avoid driving the day after an all-nighter; it’s just as dangerous as driving when inebriated. And, much like when you’re drunk, you generally don’t know how impaired you are until it’s too late.

The Return to Health

It’s time to start healing from your all-nighter and recouping your sleep deficit so you can go back to being your smart, healthy, and energetic self as soon as possible.

Thankfully, a one-to-one payback is not required. That is, if you don’t get your regular 8 hours of sleep, you won’t have to sleep 16 hours the following night to make up for it. When you don’t get enough sleep, a reflex kicks in that permits you to sleep longer and deeper in order to speed up the recuperation process.

Because there is no exact formula for calculating how much more sleep you’ll need to make up for your sleep deficit, the best thing you can do is listen to your body. Allow yourself to wake up naturally – don’t set your alarm clock. Go to bed whenever you feel sleepy (but stay up until at least 9 p.m. so you don’t wake up in the middle of the night). Continue doing so until you’ve regained your sense of well-being. If you have a more regular schedule to maintain, the easiest method to recuperate is to add an additional 1-2 hours of sleep each night until you feel bright-eyed and bushy-tailed again.

The most essential thing is to get back on track with your sleep routine as quickly as possible. While one all-nighter won’t kill you, persistent sleep deprivation may cause major health issues such as obesity, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Bottom line: pull an all-nighter only when absolutely required, and don’t do it on a regular basis!

Bottom line: pull an all-nighter only when absolutely required, and don’t do it on a regular basis!

Thank you to BluCore Shooting Center for compiling these recommendations for us from their knowledgeable and experienced team. BluCore is a shooting range and training facility developed by two Navy SEALs. Check out their web shop and give them a visit if you’re in the Denver area!



The “how to pull an all-nighter as a teenager” is a survival technique that many teenagers use when they need to stay up for a long time. It’s important to make sure not to drink too much water, and not to eat too much food.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you successfully pull an all-nighter?

A: Not many people can pull an all-nighter, but the following are a few ways you could do it.

Is it OK to pull an all-nighter?

A: Generally most people would recommend not staying up all night, but this is a personal decision. Deciding on when you should go to bed and if its OK for you depends on the individual.

Is it bad to pull all?

A: Yes, it is bad to pull all! You should not do this under any circumstance.

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