The Optimized Gentleman

Should You Pull An All-Nighter to Fix Your Sleep Schedule?

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Look, we know what it’s like when your sleep schedule keeps getting worse and worse by the day… and you don’t know what to do to fix it. So you start trying to go to bed earlier, but it never works out – simply because you’re too awake to actually fall asleep. That’s when you start wondering if pulling an all-nighter would help “fix/reset” your sleep schedule for good…

The Short Answer on “All-Nighters”

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To keep it straightforward, pulling an all-nighter is NOT the best way to fix your sleep schedule. Besides its unhealthy effects on your body, pulling an all-nighter might not even help you at all! It may leave you with a sleep schedule that’s even worse than it was, before the all-nighter.

So keep on reading to learn how pulling an all-nighter can affect your mind and body, whether there’s a possibility of it fixing your sleep schedule. We’ll also dive into the alternative ways to get you back to healthy sleep schedule, and feeling your absolute best.

How Pulling an All-Nighter Affects Your Body

If you’re planning to pull an all-nighter, you need to be aware of how such action might affect your body and mind for a few days.

Research has shown that being too sleep-deprived is extremely similar to drinking, in terms of inability to focus properly, and having slowed reaction times. On top of that, a person who pulls an all-nighter will have a hard time following a series of basic tasks.

When you’re a guy focused on leveling up, in every aspect of a man’s life (fitness, relationships/dating, business, investing) you need to be SHARP between the ears. Staying awake all night to reset your circadian rhythm is simply not the best approach.

Besides the obvious signs and effects like under-eye bags, fatigue, inability to recall information, and lack of focus, sleep deprivation has long-term effects. These include weakening the power of your memory and recall, diabetes, and even heart diseases.

As you can see, sleep deprivation could be life-threatening, so it’s not something you’d want to take lightly.

After an all-nighter, you’ll find yourself not able to think properly or make the right decisions. Also, if you’re planning to pull an all-nighter where you’ll work all night long, we strongly recommend against that. Why? Because your accuracy will be lower than usual, and you’ll make errors you normally wouldn’t make – thus making double the work for yourself.

You can’t afford to waste time like this. Let’s discuss how healthy sleep cycles function.

How Your Circadian Rhythm (Internal Sleep Clock) Works

Before trying to fix your sleep, you need to know how your body’s “sleep clock” works.

It’s affected by many factors – most importantly, light. Your body feels more awake and energetic when exposed to sunlight, or if the room is bright. Contrarily, you start to feel tired or sleepy at night or in dark rooms. Easy.

Knowing that your sleep clock (or circadian rhythm) can be affected by factors like light, temperature, and even food is the first step into fixing your sleep.

Healthier Alternatives to All-Nighters That Can Help You Fix Your Sleep Schedule

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Now that you know how all-nighters can affect your body, mind, and overall performance for days until you fully recover… you should be considering other options.

Here are some healthy ways to fix your sleep schedule easily:

Control Light Exposure

Based on how your sleep clock works naturally, it’s important to control and adjust the lighting in your bedroom. Try to go out into the sunlight in the mornings, and make sure your house is well-lit.

Research from neuroscientist Andrew Huberman states that even 20 minutes of uninterrupted sun (not through a window) can optimize your circadian rhythm. This makes it easier to fall asleep, and the sun even helps you wake up more refreshed and energized!

Keep following the sun by turning down the lights lower and lower as the sun starts to set. This way, you’ll prepare your body for the night, and find yourself starting to gradually feel more and more sleepy.

By the time you’re supposed to sleep, make sure there’s ZERO light at all in your bedroom – that includes lights from a TV or your phone.

If you have a hard time waking up in the mornings when you’re supposed to, make sure you turn on bright lights when you first wake up, or simply walk out into the sun. This helps your body wake up and gain more energy for the day ahead.

If you can time it so you get exposure to the sun around 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., this will allow you to collect the maximum UV-B rays. This stimulates vitamin D, and helps balance your mood and circadian rhythm even further!

Limit Your Exposure to Blue Light

Blue light emitted from phone and TV screens prevents the production of melatonin (the sleep hormone). In other words, using your phone before bed could be the reason why you can’t fall asleep when you’re supposed to.

We know you’ve heard that before and that just sitting there and doing nothing in bed, waiting for sleep to hit isn’t exactly fun. Still, you should at least turn on dark mode or night mode on your phone, since they help reduce blue light emissions.

If you’ve ever wondered why you’ve seen yellow screens here and there, this is why. The blue light emitted from screens is terrible for sleep. For desktop, you should also consider installing a fantastic (and free) plugin called F.lux.

Watch What (and when) You Eat and Drink

Food that’s rich in sugar or caffeine could prevent you from falling asleep at appropriate times. Make sure you’ve finished all your meals a few hours before you’re aiming to fall asleep, so your body will have time to digest the food and relax.

One thing that can disturb sleep and digestion at the same time is lying down. Stay upright for at least 2-3 hours after meals – this means eating your last meal a long time before bedtime.

Also, after waking up, you can experiment with light meals consisting of high protein and/or fats, to stay quick on your feet. Or, experiment with intermittent fasting, so you can sustain energy and not have your digestive process slow down your mental faculties.

We wrote a piece here on intermittent fasting, helping you decide how many times per day you should eat, and when.

And, of course, avoid drinking any caffeinated drinks after lunch or 6 hours before bedtime. We know how much you love coffee – so try to go for non-caffeinated versions instead.

Consider Using Muscle Relaxers Or Sleep Aids

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There are tons of helpful sleep aids that can help you get a better night’s rest, and wake up refreshed.

The basics of optimized sleep are as follows:

  • lower body temperature,
  • increased melatonin production,
  • quiet surroundings,
  • full sleep cycles & their corresponding brain waves, and
  • blacking out as much light as possible

If you can intelligently optimize with certain products – like sleep masks, ear plugs, white noise, or room/mattress temperature – you’ll get a more fulfilling night’s rest!

Our all-time favorite sleep mask is the Manta Mask, by Manta Sleep.

It’s known to block out all light, which triggers your pineal gland to produce more melatonin, leading you into deeper sleep cycles and REM (Rapid Eye Movement).

We also did an entire post on muscle relaxers, which can release tension in your muscles. The double benefit helps you recover quickly from training, and get great rest at night! Examples are Dee Cee Lab’s Formula 303, Oregon’s Wild Harvest, and even Celestial Seasonings Herbal Tea.

You can check the post for complete comparisons. 

For now, we don’t recommend melatonin as much, unless in must-have situations like jet lag or insomnia. Reason being – melatonin quickly knocks you out, yes, but does NOT help you stay asleep, which leaves you at less than 100%.

Consistency Is Key

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If you want to adjust your sleep schedule, you just have to train your body into it.

Make sure you’re consistent with the time you go to bed each night, and the time you wake up each morning. This way, your body will get used to it. That means avoiding hitting ‘snooze’ every morning and just getting up! 

You’ve got important investments of time, money, and energy to make into your future.

Also, having a nighttime sleep routine will significantly help your body know when it’s almost time for bed. It could be as simple as brushing your teeth, meditating, breath work, yoga, stretching, etc. Or, you could even set up a full routine of changing clothes, showering, shaving, reading, and whatever else you want to do.

What’s more, exercising before going to bed is a great idea because that’ll leave your body tired enough to fall asleep immediately. Be careful with this though – hard, heavy workouts will actually pump your body up and give it more energy, increase your heart rate and breathing, and can make it harder to fall asleep.

If anything, we’d recommend light stretching, yogic positions that release tension, and and deep breathing.

Resist Naps!

We know how difficult it is to resist napping throughout the day when you’re tired, but it’s the first step to fixing your sleep schedule.

If you’re too tired and you just have to nap, try to only sleep for 20-30 minutes to prevent your body from going into REM sleep. This will still allow your body to rest enough to keep you going.

After a quick power nap of usually 20 minutes or so, your body will take what it needs and wake you up shortly. It’s highly recommended to get up right when it does, and get back to your work day.

Be Patient

It’s important to remember that fixing your sleep schedule won’t be done overnight (pun intended). You need to be patient and to try to push back the time you wake up by 30 minutes every morning. Eventually, you’ll start going to bed and waking up at appropriate times.

Be prepared. This is a process that’ll take a few days (or even weeks, depending on how bad your current schedule is), but it’s well worth the effort.

Still Not Convinced You Should Avoid All-Nighters?

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Well damn, we did our best.

If you’re the stubborn type, still convinced you want to pull an all-nighter? At least follow these guidelines to lessen the long-term damage as much as possible:

  • Caffeine is your best friend, considering it promotes alertness. Use it wisely.
  • Make sure you drink lots of water and keep your body well-hydrated,
  • Try to stay active by moving and lightly exercising every now and then,
  • Avoid taking naps throughout the day (power naps are OK if needed),
  • Make sure to stay inside your home, and never deal with machinery or driving!

Related Questions to Pulling An All-Nighter

Does Pulling an All-Nighter Reset Sleep Your Cycle?

It heavily depends on your body. For some, it might work, while for others, it might require days for your body to recover from the all-nighter. Overall, it’s not the best approach.

You can use it if you’re working on some project that requires you to go overtime, where the reward payoff is high enough. For instance, if you’re an entrepreneur working on a new product launch, and it’s set up to help you leverage a LOT of financial reward from 24-36 hours of grind time? It may make sense.

Similarly, if you’re in a high-level position at a company where you’re the skilled, “go-to guy”? You may have responsibilities or opportunities that can help catapult your career.

Weigh the options and payoffs, and make your own informed decision.

You’re your own man. You’ve got this.

Is It OK to Pull an All-Nighter Just Once?

Again, pulling an all-nighter once when you have a deadline to meet should be fine.

The younger you are, the less you’re exposing your body to the long-term effects. But it comes with a cost, especially when you’re over 30 or so – you should expect to feel tired throughout the following day, lethargic, and perhaps irritable or easily annoyed.

Is It Bad to Stay Up for More Than 24 Hours?

Yes! Staying up that long will affect your performance and accuracy in work, and in your social life. Also, you’ll be feeling tired all day, so you won’t be as productive as you might expect.

Final Words on Fixing Your Sleep Cycles

There’s no doubt that fixing your sleep schedule isn’t an easy task.

However, that doesn’t mean that pulling an all-nighter is the way to go. This is a pretty extreme choice on the “unadvisable” end of the spectrum.

The effects lack of sleep has on your body are too serious to be ignored, and there are many healthy ways to fix your sleep. So, we strongly recommend you fix your sleep ASAP, but do it correctly.

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