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Buffalo Bucket List No. 4 & 5: All Night Long

Pulling an all-nighter and immediately regretting my decision

The Spectrum

The Buffalo Bucket List is a series of articles highlighting my journey to achieve the full college experience in Buffalo, from chicken wings to Oozefest.

The All-Nighter: one of the most classic college experiences. Despite what you tell yourself, inevitably you will pull an all-nighter and you will regret it.

No. 4: Pull an all-nighter

There are many reasons to pull an all-nighter. Maybe you didn’t realize you had a test the next day and you have no idea what’s on it. Maybe there’s an entire 20-page paper due tomorrow that you didn’t even start. Maybe you’re just bored. Whatever the reason, at some point in your four (or more) years in college you’ll most likely pull an all-nighter.

Word to the wise, pulling an all-nighter should not be taken lightly. It is a long time to go without sleep. Your body, mind and spirit will all be tested. As an experienced insomniac, here are a few tips to help you out.

You’re going to want to start your all-nighter like you’d start a trip: by getting snacks! It’s going to be a long arduous night. You will lose hope. You will get lonely. Snacks will be there for you when everyone else is asleep.

Do NOT go to sleep. When it’s around 4 a.m., you will hit the metaphorical wall; you will feel drained of all life. However, if you go to bed, you will be asleep for hours, probably missing whatever class you pulled the all-nighter for. Power through it.

Keep yourself occupied. Do not take a break and do nothing. If you’re going to take a break, make sure you play a game or read an article, something that’ll keep your brain active. Once you stop using your brain, it’ll start to shut down. Keep the wheels in motion and you’ll stay productive.

You may be tempted to take Adderall or similar drugs, but there are three reasons why you shouldn’t. One: without a prescription, it’s illegal and two: burnout. You will crash very hard afterward. It won’t be pretty. Three: I consider it cheating. It’s like steroids in baseball. A lot of people are doing it and it’ll make you perform better, but it’s just so wrong.

If you want a kick, caffeine is your best friend. But you’re a college student, you should know that by now.

A psychological study on sleep deprivation conducted by the Taylor & Francis Group yielded a report titled, “Failure to Find Executive Function Deficits Following One Night’s Total Sleep Deprivation in University Students Under Naturalistic Conditions.” In other words, there seems to be little psychological effect from pulling an all-nighter.

Participants in the study were deprived of sleep for 35-39 hours. The report showed sleepiness seemed to peak after 24 hours of being awake and then dropped off significantly. It also showed those who were sleep deprived slept much longer when they were finally able sleep.

If you manage to stay up all night long, studying, writing or doing whatever, then congratulations! You’ve earned your way into an elite corps of students. Now, go take the test or hand in that paper – and then go immediately to sleep.

No. 5: Regret pulling an all-nighter

There are many reasons to regret pulling an all-nighter. Maybe you (like me) fell asleep and missed the test you had been studying for. Maybe you didn’t get the paper done and now have to go through all your classes feeling like you’ve been hit by a bus but have nothing to show for it. Maybe you’re now wondering how pulling an all-nighter because you were bored made any sense at all. Whatever the reason, you hate your past self for choosing to pull an all-nighter.

While the study showed little actual effects on brain function, it did have many perceived effects. All participants reported feeling extremely tired. The only effect on brain functioning, in fact, was memory.

So maybe studying isn’t scientifically the best to do during an all-nighter, but then again the whole idea of an all-nighter is crazy. And that’s the beauty of the all-nighter. It seems like a bad idea and it pretty much is. But it is also one of the most classic college experiences. If you haven’t done it already, you will. Don’t worry. You will.

Dan McKeon is a features editor and can be reached at

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