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Don't be proud of pulling off an all-nighter

rahul_ramfort profile image Rahul ・4 min read

When I decided to start writing, I consciously told myself to write on other topics too, apart from code. Like things that I wish someone told me when I was a fresher.

Sleep is one of them.

I have done so many all-nighters, during my college days and during the early years at my job. I used to feel so proud for pulling off those for some unknown reasons. Maybe I felt like being a * techie * requires you to do all-nighters. Maybe to show off your friends that you could do all-nighters. Interestingly, I did not even have comp-offs for those all-nighters yet I impulsively did those.

In hindsight, I regret the decision, pulling off all-nighters isn't good for you after all. Depriving oneself of sleep is the worst thing that mankind could do to itself. Today I would prioritise a better sleep over an all-nighter any day.

Here are some of my observations after quite a few all-nighters.

Decision Making/ Quality of Code:

Decision making is poor during all-nighters. Many a time, I had to redesign database design/code structures that I did during the all-nighter. I have found myself unanswerable to a few decision making questions that I have the following day or a few days later.

To overcome this, I decided that all the decision making has to be completed beforehand so that I could just code during the all-nighter. But the quality of the code that you write during an all-nighter is never the best code that you could write. More often than not, the bugs that I find in my code would have been written during an all-nighter.

How productive are you the day after you pull off an all-nighter?

For me, the next day has always been a zero productivity day. I have looked back at those days, thinking I could have completed the same job without doing an all-nighter.

Apart from these productivity issues, sleep deprivation is bad for your health which is the primary reason to not do an all-nighter ever.

Sleep Deprivation is injurious to health:

There are a lot of bad effects of sleep deprivation. It drains your mental abilities and puts your physical health at risk. Scientifically sleep deprivation has been the cause of many problems, from weight gain to a weak immune system, from heart attacks to memory issues and lowered thinking ability.

You will never know the effects when you're young because you're full of energy and your thought process goes something like this,

To compensate for the lost sleep during the weekday,
I will sleep for more hours during the weekend. 
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This is wrong on so many levels.

Sleep once lost, is lost forever. It is not like a bank where you put more sleep to compensate for the loss. It doesn't work like that. Moreover, oversleeping will only make you unproductive that day as well.

Regularity is the King:

Always remember this and make sure you have a good sleep every single day. The number of hours required for good sleep is subjective. It varies from 6-9 hours depending on the individual. So find what's comfortable for you and hit that number of hours every single day.

The regularity of sleep is the secret behind good mental health and being productive during the day. Try to regularize your sleep time by sleeping at the same time. For instance, from 10:30 pm to 6:30 am every day. Over time, your mind respects sleep time and falls asleep effortlessly.

Sleep is vital for the human body to function properly, akin to how we eat, how we breathe. Never take it for granted.

The hard part isn't getting your body in shape.
The hard part is getting your mind in shape. 
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Sleep has been the underrated reason behind people not in a good mental space.

Respect sleep time:

The reason for us staying up late is mostly because of the fact that you're not able to get up early. But the focus should not be to get up early, it has to be * to sleep on time *. Once you regularise your sleep time and sleep on time, you will see yourself get up on time as well.

As a practice, you should always have alarms, not to wake you up early but to * remind you to sleep on time *. If you ask all those people who start their day so early, the reason for them being consistent is because they sleep on time consistently no matter what.

Consistency means sleeping on time every single day, not just on weekdays and being a night owl during the weekends. Make it a habit, keep an alarm 5-10 minutes before your bedtime and turn off everything and hit the bed at that time. This has to be your P0 task.

To sleep faster/better, avoid using mobile/laptop at least 15-30 minutes before your sleep time.

Instead, try to

  • read books,
  • spend time with your family,
  • walk around,
  • meditate,
  • retrospect your day,
  • jot down tasks for next day,
  • play musical instruments

or anything that calms your mind. A healthy mind is one that has a healthy sleep.

** Again, never lose your sleep for anything. **

Discussion

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lestercovax profile image
LesterCovax

As someone with narcolepsy, I completely agree.
I will say though that some people just work better at night. I personally do my best work then, as I enjoy the night and the quiet that comes with it. Even so, it's still important to set a concrete time to just walk away, and continue the next day.
Breaks in general while working are just as crucial. The pomodoro 25min working / 5min break, is a good baseline. Can't stress how many times I've been frustrated troubleshooting something, going outside and walking for 15min, then coming back and solving the issue I was having.

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rahul_ramfort profile image
Rahul Author

I have always been a night person too but it is now that I have felt, it is just a matter of changing our mindset.
And yes, breaks rejuvenate our mind. A calm walk or a shower brings the best solution often.

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pinotattari profile image
Riccardo Bernardini

In my personal experience I had only one case where a all-nighter was justified: I had to submit a project proposal, the deadline was at 2 AM and I was behind schedule. Sleeping and working in the morning would had not worked, so I remained awake until submission.

My mistake was being so behind schedule that I needed to work all night. My eyes were closing against my will. Big mistake. I took care of not doing it anymore.

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spiderpig86 profile image
Stanley Lim

100%. It may seem fine in the short run but when you get older, you will start to feel the effects if this is habitual. Figuring out the problem the next day > staying up all night with a 10% mental capacity.

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rahul_ramfort profile image
Rahul Author

So true. This is why we have to educate the younger people on this.

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rsmithlal profile image
Robert Smith

This is so important!

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kisantamang profile image
Kisan Tamang

For me, I think this is the time to take it seriously. I am realizing these days that this is so important.