Once upon a midnight dreary: How to stay awake

Illustration of coffee
Xinyu Li/File

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Being a college student is tough. There is homework to do, meetings to attend, classes to go to, friends to talk to. Sometimes, it can feel like there just isn’t enough time during waking hours to get everything done in a timely manner. It is during times of duress like these that one can turn to the night. 

The night is a gold mine of time. It can turn hours of wasted time into moments of hyperproductive work, or it can turn a boring day into one full of memories with friends. This versatility makes it incredibly useful when you need a gear change, but maintaining your energy into the night can be a daunting task, especially for those who tend to fall asleep with relative ease. Luckily, it is not an impossible task, and with a few tips and tricks, anyone can stay up during the night and use their time however they want.

The first way to stay up is perhaps one of the most common: caffeine. This magical drug is as important to college students as PG&E is to the UC Berkeley campus: Without one, the other will fail to function. In low doses, caffeine is a low-risk, high-reward type of substance for most people. Chugging a coffee or a Red Bull will provide the brain with plenty of energy to function in overdrive. Like all drugs, however, caffeine is addictive, and it is an expensive addiction at that. Coffee is a safe investment if only one cup is being bought, but if one needs three cups or more to function, then there may be a problem. This brings us to the next method of staying up.

Pinching, in small and manageable amounts, can be a great way to stay alert. It activates the body’s fight-or-flight response, and seeing as how there is no reason to escape the situation, given the small amount of pain, the activation of the fight response makes the person awake and active. Although this method works fine with just one person, it is much more effective with a close friend. This is because when a person is about to pinch themselves, they are expecting it, and the effect is minimized. When another person is about to inflict the pinch, there is no warning, and as such, the pinch is able to wake up the target much more effectively. 

Another interesting and fun way to stay awake is to watch a horror movie by yourself late at night. There is nothing more energizing than constantly feeling like something is watching you, all night long. A great time for this method is when you need to stay up in the night to hang out with friends, as watching a scary movie can be a very fun and invigorating thing to do before the rest of the night’s activities.

Going to late-night hours at Crossroads dining hall is another way to stay awake. Like watching a horror movie, it is like a multitool: You can go there to hang out with friends on a budget, you can go there to study (although at that point, you may have bigger problems than not being able to stay up at night) and you can go there for a late-night snack for that extra energy boost to get you through whatever you need to finish before the next day comes around.

Finally, on a more realistic note, drinking water frequently is also a great way to stay awake. As a drink, water does not provide the same energy that caffeinated drinks do. It is, however, much healthier to consume water in large amounts than it is to consume caffeine in large amounts. As such, constantly drinking water is not terribly dangerous. At the same time, all the water will do is cause the drinker to pee every 15-20 minutes. These are perfect intervals for studying, and the constant movement and sensation of having to use the restroom is a surefire way to ensure that there is no sleepiness in the system.

This is a satirical article written purely for entertainment purposes.

Contact Hamzah Alam at [email protected].