Saturday night marks Shavuot, the Jewish holiday most associated with eating dairy (so much cheesecake. So many blintzes). But another popular custom on Shavuot is late-night learning; some synagogues, for example, have evening classes, sending folks home as late as midnight.
But some institutions hold literally all night learning sessions, ending in morning prayers, sending out a small, committed group staggering out into the light of day, miserable at the choices they have made (I speak from experience).
So if you want to try to be tough, and know of a good all-night study-stravaganza (I recommend Shavuot Across Brooklyn for New Yorkers), how do you do it in one piece? Here are, in honor of the holiday based on the number sevem, 7 tips for making it through:
- Take a nap that day!— Obviously if you just got sleep, you can stay awake in the short term, and this will give you a boost of a few hours.
- Caffeine, consumed STRATEGICALLY— Don’t front-load that day with energy drinks, coffee, etc. Your body will rebel and be all, like, “Espresso? PSHH. USED TO IT.”Once you’ve started consuming caffeine, space it out a little at a time. It’s not like you have a secret caffeine sac in your liver to dispense it out when needed.
- Eat protein— You may think that pasta-like carbs are the answer, but they’re a short burst of energy that will end in a crash (same goes for sugar). Shavuot is a dairy holiday, so reach for a cheese stick, and have a glass of chocolate milk.
- Drink water— This is a great rule for life, of course, but staying hydrated is the best way to keep your system sharp as the night wears on.
- Take exercise breaks— Nothing over the top, of course, but between your class on the matriarchs as feminist heroes and the debate about what exactly happened at Mount Sinai, walk around, stretch, maybe do a few jumping jacks.
- Chew gum— Mint is especially refreshing, and can keep you perkier than you think it will.
- KNOW WHEN TO CALL IT QUITS.— Nowhere in the Torah does it say, “Thou Shalt Not Sleep all of erev Shavuot.” Why are you staying up all night? Did you make a bet? Are you trying to prove something to others, or yourself? Whatever it is, it ain’t worth your health.
So, go out there and learn your tuches off! Chag Sameach!
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