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How to Stay up All Night (for Teens)

Getting plenty of sleep every night is important for teenagers, but every once in awhile you might have to stay up all night. Whether you’re studying for a test or you’re staying the night with a friend, there are a few tips that can help you pull an all-nighter!

Part One of Three:
Preparing to Stay Up All Night

  1. 1
    Understand how the body will respond to losing sleep. At about 24 hours after your normal wake up time, the body is likely to hit a wall, and you will feel most tired.
    • Experts say this is because of the body’s normal internal clock. That’s called your circadian rhythm. It means that you might feel more tired at the 24-hour mark of no sleep than you will at, say, the 30-hour mark. [1]
    • Your body clock will give you periodic second winds. The body basically triggers a wake up signal in your brain that will give you a boost despite sleep deprivation. There are things you can do to trick the body into waking up.
  2. 2
    Ensure your safety while tired. If it’s absolutely necessary for you to pull an all-nighter, make sure you do it in a safe way. Realize, though, that depriving the body of sleep is not good for the body. It releases cortisol into the body, which is the stress hormone.[2]
    • Don’t drive if you’ve stayed up all night. It can be exceptionally dangerous to yourself and other drivers. Studying all night also has been associated with lower grade-point average. So develop strategies so you don’t have to do it in the future.[3]
    • Be aware that staying up all night will affect your body in several other ways that could be dangerous. It might make you forget things and slow your reaction times. People who are deprived of sleep are more likely to perform worse at multi-tasking, indicating there is a decline in memory ability.
    • Longer term sleep deprivation has been associated with a slew of negative affects on the body, such as weight gain, mood instability, and muscle fatigue.[4] So if you end up going without sleep, make sure you give your body a chance to catch up. It's not a good idea to do this as a habit.

Part Two of Three:
Keeping the Body More Alert

  1. 1
    Take a short nap during the night or right before it starts. Okay, this isn’t exactly staying up all night, but taking a nap for even a few minutes can improve performance and minimize signs of sleepiness. Even a little shut eye can help you stay up for the rest of the night.
    • One study found that people did better with just a 26-minute nap. So shut your eyes for just a little bit, and you should find it easier to make it through the entire night and next day. The key here is to take a short nap because otherwise you could end up in a deep sleep, which is very hard to wake out of. [5]
    • You could also sleep a little bit longer the night before you know you will be up all night. The body will “bank” the sleep, and it will be easier to get through the stretch of sleeplessness without it. [6]
  2. 2
    Make sure the lights are on and bright. Your body clock is actually aware of changes in light and darkness, and you will feel more awake in the light. The body clock is linked physically to the eyes.
    • If you’re super tired the next day, go outside. The sunlight will also function to wake your body up more. The darkness causes the body to produce melatonin, which is the sleep hormone.
    • People’s instinct is often to turn down the lights at night, but that’s probably going to make you more sleepy as the body perceives it’s time to call it a night. Turning the lights higher than normal will trick the body.
  3. 3
    Stay busy, and move. The brain is going to be more alert after you move a bit. If you don’t have time to exercise, you could just engage in a conversation, wash the dishes – do something to focus your body on a new action for a time.
    • Changing an activity also might wake the body up more. The body will become more alert to compensate for the new activity. The body feels less tired when you’re busy because it will focus on the task instead of the lack of sleep.
    • Mental activities also may help you stay awake by keeping your focus on something other than the fact you're tired. So try playing a game. Some mental activities, like reading a book, may make you more sleepy, though, especially if you do them while lying down. You could listen to a talking radio show though.
  4. 4
    Cool down the room. The body temperature naturally lowers during sleep, so people sleep better when it’s colder. However, a hot room is probably going to make you feel drowsy.
    • Other ways to trick the body into feeling more wakeful include taking a cold shower and getting dressed up for your day.
    • In addition to turning down the room temperature, you could also open a window. The breeze should help you stay awake, in addition to the lower temperature (if it's cool outside).

Part Three of Three:
Eating and Drinking to Stay Awake

  1. 1
    Drink some caffeine during the night. Coffee or an energy drink will give you the boost you will need to make it through the night. However, don’t guzzle it down all at once. It can help you stay more alert if you space it out throughout the night. Some studies show caffeine can increase your focus.
    • Most people need about a 5-ounce cup of coffee or caffeinated beverage to get the necessary boost. That’s about 100 milligrams of caffeine. Caffeine will wear off in a couple hours, and it takes about a half hour for you to feel its effects.
    • You can also find caffeine pills in 100 or 200 mg doses that you can buy across the counter. Be aware that drinking a lot of caffeine can also make you jittery and have some side effects. When you stop drinking the caffeinated beverage, your body might crash, making you feel extra tired.
    • If you don't drink coffee, eat apples. They have enough sugar to keep you awake.
  2. 2
    Eat high-energy foods to give your body a boost. Some foods will give you more of an energy boost than others. If you’re pulling an all-nighter, you need to give your body some fuel. So don’t skip meals.
    • Eat something that has protein, fiber, or complex carbs in it. For example, a sandwich with a glass of milk or granola with fruit are good choices. You should also drink a lot of water. Staying hydrated is a natural energy boost.[7]
    • Whole grains, tuna fish, mushrooms, nuts, eggs, chicken and beef are also high-energy feeds. Empty calorie junk food filled with sugar could set you up for a sugar crash, so the energizing effects are too temporary.
  3. 3
    Avoid things that will make you more tired or are dangerous fixes. Choose natural ways to stay up all night, not ways that could put you at risk. Be very careful what you put into your body.
    • Although teenagers probably shouldn’t be drinking it anyway, (unless they’re of legal drinking age for their area), drinking alcohol causes drowsiness.
    • Don’t use drugs that are regularly prescribed as stimulants to pull an all-nighter. It’s not worth damaging your body or taking the risk. Such behaviors can be exceptionally dangerous and even illegal.
  4. 4
    Develop better habits so you don’t have to stay up all night. Sometimes it’s unavoidable (a one-time thing). However, organizing your life differently may ensure you don’t have to do it regularly.
    • Work on study habits. People get overwhelmed when they think of everything they have to do at once. Create a checklist. Set aside a certain amount of time to study at the same time each day, so you get into a routine.
    • Research shows that teenagers’ sleep habits are different than those of adults. [8] Young people's bodies might tell them to go to stay awake later. This is a natural occurrence. Clearing your mind by getting off the computer, smartphone or video games will help.

Community Q&A

Add New Question
  • Does candy help?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Candy and other sugar-rich foods can make you feel awake, but notice the consequences. After a short time, your blood sugar will crash and you will be more tired than ever.
    Thanks! 315 43
  • Does running up and down stairs help?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • It might help you stay awake, but you will almost certainly wake up your parents.
    Thanks! 7 0
  • What do I do if I only have water and gum and can't turn any lights on?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Maybe you can just read a book with a book light under the covers, or play with an electronic handheld device (like a phone) under the covers. If you get really hungry, try to sneak into the kitchen after everyone else has gone to bed.
    Thanks! 4 0
  • Can I use candy to stay up if I continue to eat it after the sugar rush has worn off?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Yes, you can, although you might eventually run out of candy and crash anyway.
    Thanks! 3 0
  • What do I have to do to make staying awake a habit?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Your body will naturally stick to a schedule if you do it over and over again. However, you should not make staying up all night a habit. You need sleep to stay healthy.
    Thanks! 3 0
  • I need to study, what do I do?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Try listening to upbeat music without lyrics. Take breaks every once in a while to splash water on your face or do a few jumping jacks. Stay hydrated and eat healthy snacks. Remember, if you don't get a decent amount of sleep, you won't remember what you studied, so try not to pull all-nighters very often. They don't work out well.
    Thanks! 3 0
  • What can happen if I don't sleep for 5 days.
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • There will be consequences. You will start to hear things, see things, and hallucinate, which is not good for you or your body. It is very unsafe and healthy to go that long without sleeping. Do not try it.
    Thanks! 5 1
  • Can watching a scary movie help?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Yes. It will keep you more alert because your brain will be focused on fear.
    Thanks! 8 3
  • How do I get up early if I stayed up late?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Set an alarm for when need to get up. Splashing or washing your face with cold water can help you wake up.
    Thanks! 2 0
  • What if my window doesn't open and I don't have a fan, I'm not allowed downstairs to get food or drinks, and my light doesn't work?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • The day before, get a flashlight, entertainment, and food up to your room. Hide it under your bed so you can access it when everyone goes to sleep.
    Thanks! 2 0
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  • How much coffee do I need to stay up for three days? And what type of coffee is best?
  • Which kinda energy food I should be eating?
  • What are some activities to do when your bored and trying to stay up all night?
  • How to go to sleep before Christmas
  • How should you regain the energy you lost? In small bits or one long sleep or.?
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Quick Summary

If you need to stay up all night, keep your body more alert by taking a quick nap just before the evening starts. Once your night begins, keep bright lights turned on to help you feel more awake. Do your best to stay busy, and get up every so often and move around to help wake yourself up.Keep the temperature turned down in order to feel more alert. Read on for tips on how to keep yourself awake using food and drink!


  • Don't lie down for a long time. It will be hard to get up.
    1 Helpful?  0
  • If you absolutely can't stay up that late, consider drinking a soda with caffeine like Mountain Dew, Pepsi, Coke, etc. Make sure your parents don't see it, though.
    1 Helpful?  0
  • Try not to do anything to wake anybody else up. Otherwise it will become obvious and you could get in trouble.
    1 Helpful?  0
  • Make sure that you're not going to school the next day.
    1 Helpful?  0
  • If you listen to music, make sure it's not relaxing. Relaxing music soothes the mind and makes it much easier to fall asleep!
    1 Helpful?  0
  • Drink lots of green tea and English breakfast tea, They both taste great, and with the help of a little sugar, you can get the energy you need to stay awake.
    1 Helpful?  0
  • If it's a school night, do the homework due the next day and set up for school.
    1 Helpful?  0
  • Drink strong coffee before you begin your session as this can help keep you alert.
    1 Helpful?  0
  • Do not stay in one position for too long which will make you relax. Try changing your postures every 30 minutes or so.
    1 Helpful?  0
  • Watch an action movie so it will keep your adrenaline going.
    1 Helpful?  0
  • Don't drink too much soda, coffee, or tea. It could make you feel drowsy.
    0 Helpful?  0
  • Watch horror movies, scary stuff might help keep you awake.
    0 Helpful?  0
  • The blue light on an electronic device makes the body less sleepy, so it help to go on your phone or computer. Don't lie down with it though!
    0 Helpful?  0
  • If you are looking at a screen or reading just remember this makes your eyes become tired! Make sure to take small breaks to prevent straining your eyes.
    0 Helpful?  0


  • Do not do this often, as sleep is very important for your body.
    185 Helpful?  32

About This Article

79 votes - 71%
Co-authors: 66
Views: 455,075

Reader Success Stories

  • MD

    Melissa Digorno

    Jun 21, 2016

    "I find playing video games very helpful or reading in a sitting up position. Read things that interest you like fan fiction or maybe a mystery. Keep yourself occupied so the time flies by."..." more
  • CH

    Chelsea Hawla

    Oct 19, 2016

    "This was really helpful, although saying caffeine works, then doesn't as sugar level drops doesn't help, haha, but the movement and cold air are great!"..." more
  • MS

    Mikkaila Stachoski

    Aug 8, 2017

    "It helped my fire and I to stay awake to plan a party as I want to be a event planner. Our party was great everyone had a good time. "..." more
    Rated this article:
  • KB

    Kaitlen Bithc

    Oct 31, 2017

    "I had a school project, and this helped me so much. I had fallen behind, but with these tips, I managed to power through. "..." more
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  • MP

    Merissa Peka

    Jun 6, 2017

    "This article helped me so much, I had no idea how to stay awake very late, and now I have a lot of information. Thanks."..." more
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    Nov 16, 2017

    "I stayed up and studied all night, which significantly improved my grades. Thank you so much for showing me the light!"..." more
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    Maya Davies

    Jul 6, 2016

    "This helps me because I just moved to Indiana from California, so I would like to see the sunrise here. Thanks."
  • NH

    Nicholas Hoagland

    Jul 8, 2016

    "I already knew a lot, but it gave me explanations so I knew that the advice worked."
  • SJ

    Sohaam Jumde

    Mar 2, 2017

    "Great info though. Got my physics paper tomorrow, so let's see if it works!"
  • Sydney Kent

    Sep 16, 2017

    "It helps me be relaxed and calm and energetic and I love it every time!"
    Rated this article:
  • K


    Aug 15, 2017

    "It will help me so I can stay up all night tonight! Thanks, wikiHow."
    Rated this article:
  • BD

    Barry Dickens

    Jan 12, 2017

    "Keeping the lights on and bright helped a bunch. All good tips!"
  • EF

    Emily Freddie

    Aug 26, 2016

    "This is the best app, and if you want to, you can read a book."
  • LL

    Lizzy Lou

    Jul 19, 2017

    "I read it in the middle of the night and it kept me awake."
    Rated this article:
  • MJ

    Marianne Jouni

    Dec 16, 2016

    "I like this very much. So glad that you helped me."
  • KM

    Kendra Martinez

    Nov 26, 2016

    "Amazing! I am doing this as of now, and it works!"
  • EK

    Eva Kudo

    Jun 11, 2017

    "It gives new info that I didn't know before."
  • ND

    Noah Dixon

    Jul 18, 2017

    "This helped me stay awake until 6:00 AM."
  • KR

    Kloe Rodriguez

    Aug 6, 2017

    "The eating suggestions helped. Thanks!"
  • Swapnanil Chakraborty

    Jul 1, 2017

    "I am a late nighter and it helped me."
    Rated this article:
  • A


    Nov 16, 2016

    "Everything stood out."
  • BT

    Brittany Thomas

    Nov 8, 2017

    "Really great tricks!"
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