How To Successfully Stay Up All Night (aka "Pulling An All-Nighter")
I speak on this issue as a certified expert on the matter. I have stayed up all-night more times than I can count in my life.
There are easy ways to stay up all-night and then there are the harder ways. If you find yourself in a situation where you are forced to stay up all night (studying for exams, other pressing matters) then I would recommend using at least one of these tips as they will help you make it through the night.
1. Drink Red Bulls - if you want to easily stay up all night, buy a bunch of Red Bulls and just keep chugging whenever you start to feel drowsy. The upside to Red Bulls is that you will not only feel awake, but you will also feel fairly alert (from my experience) - the downside is that one Red Bull has 80 mg of caffeine, which is about twice as much caffeine as what is found in a can of Coke. Not terrible, but if you have six or seven Red Bulls over the course of one night, you are going to be ingesting an awful lot of caffeine. The benefits of drinking a Red Bull over just popping caffeine pills is that Red Bull contains some ingredients that will help you body perform and feel better, such as Tuarine and Vitamin B6. I believe that caffeine pills have around 200 mg of caffeine on average, so it is very easy to overdo it and that can be harmful to your body. Red Bulls don't taste particularly great to me, but they get the job done. In limited amounts, they really do work.
2. Stay out of the bedroom. The worst thing that you can do when you are trying to stay up all night is to hang around in your bedroom. Your body associates your bed with sleeping, so when you start getting drowsy, your body will practically shut down if you are anywhere close to your bed. Close the bedroom door and study somewhere else if you need to stay up all night; the further that you get away from your bed, the better. If there is an all-night Internet cafe or Starbucks close-by that you can study at, that is even better.
3. Avoid the "danger hours" of 5 am to 8 am by completely leaving your house or apartment. This is the time that most people will fade away and pass out when they are attempting an all-nighter. Most attempted "all-nighters" will fail during these times. If you really need to stay out all night, you must try to avoid being anywhere close to your bed during these times. Go to a Starbucks and work there, or go for a long drive with the windows open. If your eyes catch sight of your bed during this time period
(and you aren't hopped up on Red Bulls), you will almost definitely pass out.
4. Fuel the body. I find that when I pull an all-nighter, I start to lose my appetite and start to feel slightly nauseous. It's important that you fuel your body with good foods even if you aren't really hungry. Avoid making a trip through the 24 hour McDonald's; stock up early on chicken, fresh fruits and juices - foods that won't weigh you down and make you feel drowsy. The worst thing that you can do when you are trying to stay up all-night is to consume a huge meal loaded with heavy foods. If you don't eat any food during your all-nighter, this will just make it twice as hard for your body to cope and keep you up.
5. Make sure that you have plenty of external stimulus. I like to listen to upbeat music when I am trying to stay up all night. Other people like to have the television blasting in the background. If you are sitting in a quiet room trying to study, I think that you have a much better chance of feeling asleep. Put on some decent, upbeat music and you will have an easier time staying up.
6. If you are feeling drowsy, go for a short walk in the night air. Don't overdo the walk; you will tire yourself out. A 20 minute stroll around the block (especially if it is cold out) will wipe away most of the drowsiness in your body. If you are feeling drowsy, go and take the dog for a walk. If you don't feel safe walking at that time of night, go for a drive with the windows open. You will feel much more alert when you get back.
If you find yourself getting terribly drowsy and don't think that you will make it all night, then I would recommend the next best thing - a short nap, aka the "Power Nap." The idea is to end your sleep before you enter a "deep sleep", aka the "Slow-Wave-Sleep."
If you take a nap and wake up before you enter your "deep sleep", you will often feel surprisingly refreshed and alert. The mistake that most people make is that they nap for too long and enter the "deep sleep" phase, and they will wake up from this feeling groggy and drowsy and mentally unfocused.
I would recommend a power-nap of around 30 minutes. If you don't let the idea of staying up all night, then a power-nap is the next best thing. You will still feel tired throughout the day if you have just a power-nap instead of a regular sleep, but you will likely function a bit better.
It's always recommended to get a good night's sleep if you can, but if you have to stay up, these tips listed above will likely help you quite a bit.