The Survival Kit

If you have to stay up — and you will — here’s the insider’s guide to doing it right.



Caffeine: It actually works better when you’re dog-tired. A healthy well-rested body misses out on the jangle of the drug.


Protein: It raises the level of tyrosine in the brain, an amino acid that promotes quick thinking.

Exercise: Favorite all-nighter endorphin highs: blading, biking, roller-hockey, anything with a ball.

Last Resort: Shock yourself awake. Two legal options: the Ajax twang of Altoids or the nuclear cinnamon blast of the Atomic Fireball.


Basic Food Group: Domino’s is the Soylent Green of the new night shift — it’s full of the carbs your body craves to keep warm during the 3 AM chills.

Spicy: Thai, Korean, Pan Asian — hotter is better.

Nutrition Delivery System: PowerBar’s new PowerGel, is a nutrient and caffeine-enriched substance — like mainlining energy.



Music is a requirement, but coordinating the tunes with office mood and personal taste is a minor art form. Here’s Adjacency’s playlist:

When you’re in the zone: try meditative (Brian Eno), hypnotic (Stereolab), groovy (Pizzicato Five). And jazz, always jazz.

When you have to crank: angry music (The Goats, Pennywise, Into Another). Slip in an occasional interlude of something slower (Uncle Tupelo, Tom Waits, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones).


The Killer App: Power naps work. They’re better than nothing — and better than a coffee break.

Infrastructure. Ask your boss for Matsushita’s Relax and Refresh chair — a built-in massager and control panel program a relaxing effect until a bright light wakes you up refreshed (Circadian Technologies, 800-284-5001). Or, try the floor and an alarm clock. Program Westclox’s (770-447-5300) Power Napper with your nap length, then activate with one touch.

Strategy: Preventive naps are better than recuperative naps.