All-nighters aren't healthy for anyone — they lead to memory issues, weight gain, and even stroke and other health issues in the long term — but sometimes, that college paper isn't going to write itself. If you find yourself at the tail end of an all-nighter (whether for work, school, or social), here's what to do the day after to ensure you stay on the right track.
- Don't give into all your cravings: Studies show that people who are sleep-deprived end up reaching for more junk food — and eat more calories — than those who get enough sleep. While you may just want to eat your way through all the croissants, pizza, and candy your foggy mind is telling you to, those refined carbs and sugars will just lead to an even worse crash.
- Eat this instead: So, now that you know that buttery pastries are off limits, what should you eat instead? Lean protein and foods with natural sugars will help you stay energized. Go for nuts or lean meats and fresh fruit to help keep you awake.
- Go for a walk: Moving your body around will help send signals to your brain that will increase alertness; a recent study found that even a short walk helps you be more creative at work. Bonus points if you can get outside on a sunny day to soak in some energizing rays.
- Caffeinate wisely: Caffeine has a host of healthy benefits, but it's important to not go overboard since too much can leave you jittery and anxious. Instead of going for the biggest cup of coffee you can get, stick to a normal size (about 100 to 200 milligrams of caffeine each, depending on the type of brew) and sip one every three to four hours.
- Hydrate: Dehydration is a known cause of feeling fatigued, so don't add to your sleepiness by skipping out on H2O.
- If all else fails, take a nap: Just 10-20 minutes of shut-eye has been shown to improve performance and energy levels for several hours. This may be the most impractical piece of advice if you work at an office and have nowhere to snag zzz's, but if you're lucky enough to have privacy, it could save you from a day of careless mistakes and foggy minded-decisions.