If you’re serious about gaming, there are few things more exciting than planning an all-nighter. It could be to power your way through a new game, getting together with friends to overcome a tricky boss in record time or a multitude of other things. While we wouldn’t advise doing it too often for the sake of your health and sanity, they are great to accomplish something special in your gaming life.
How easy the all-nighter will be depends on a lot of factors. If you’re as old as we are, you definitely need to leave plenty of time in between them! Like anything else worth doing, proper preparation also plays an important part, and the following 10 tips have been selected to ensure that such preparation makes a real difference to your performance.
1. Get Some Rest Beforehand
You may already be in the habit of sleeping all day and gaming all night. If not, then it’s essential to get some rest in before you commit to an all-nighter, and not just with an eye on your health. When you dedicate such a significant amount of time to a task, you want to perform at your best. Like anything else that requires focus and concentration, you won’t be on top of your game if you can barely keep your eyes open.
2. Avoid Screen Burnout
If you aim to stare at a screen for 12 hours or more, try to avoid doing so beforehand. Sleep is generally a good idea before the session, but if you’ve got your eyes open, hang out with friends or read a book. Eye fatigue is genuine and can have as much of an effect on your gaming performance as tiredness, if not more.
3. Modify Your Diet to Accommodate the Session
If all goes to plan, you’ll spend most of the session gaming and as little time as possible doing anything else, including preparing and consuming food. Hunger is not great when you attempt to focus, so try to have a filling, energy-packed meal before you sit down to your game. Have some snacks on standby and within easy reach for cases of downtime in the game. Try to avoid too much sugar too, as while the high will help in the first few hours of a session; the crash can severely impact on your performance.
4. Clear the Gaming Area of Rubbish and Dirt
Most of our readers will have heard the old saying about a cluttered desk making for a cluttered mind. Whether you believe it or not, it’s best not to chance it. In taking the time to tidy up beforehand, you won’t feel so obliged to clean up your snacks as soon as you’re done with them. It also means easier access to anything you keep on and around your gaming rig during the session, as you won’t have to wade through empty cans and discarded snack packets to get your hands on what you need.
5. Comfort is a Priority
It may be too late to do anything about comfort if your planned session is tonight, but stop and consider whether your gaming chair, sofa or anything else you plan to sit on lends itself to prolonged gaming sessions. If your back starts to hurt, you may lose your focus and now is as good a time as any to consider an upgrade in this department. Gaming chairs are expensive, but many are worth the price for the health and comfort benefits. If they’re outside your budget, go for something unbranded but designed for office use.
6. Have a Backup Plan for if Things Go Wrong
Hopefully, your gaming sessions will go off without a hitch. However, things go wrong and it’s never more annoying than when you have plans in place. Ideally, you’ll have backup controllers to hand if you’re on a console, or a spare keyboard and mouse if they stop working for whatever reason. Indeed, anything that is easy and cheap enough to have two of should be on hand just in case.
7. Get Rid of Distractions
As noted, these gaming all-nighters tend to happen when you need to be focussed and at your best. To perform well, it can be worth immersing yourself into your game of choice and getting rid of anything from the outside world that could affect your concentration. Fortunately, the fact that you’ll play overnight means distractions are limited anyway. However, it is best to set your phone to silent or turn it off completely. In the former case, you can check it occasionally without being interrupted continuously by buzzing and ringing.
8. Decide on Music
Music in periods of intense concentration is a personal choice and it’s not for us to say what’s right and wrong. Some people find it easier to focus with music in the background, while others consider it a distraction all of its own. If you do decide to go with musical accompaniment, sort a couple of playlists that you know you’ll enjoy beforehand. It may only take a couple of seconds to skip tracks, but that can all add up when your focus should be elsewhere.
9. Use Downtime to Stretch
While the idea of an overnight gaming session is one that appeals, there is no getting away from the fact that sitting still for 12 hours or more is not good for you. If you can get up and do some simple stretches between matches, during cutscenes or as part of other downtime, you can keep the blood flowing, and your body feeling loose and awake without compromising your time in-game.
10. Take Proper Breaks
As well as sitting for extended periods, you’re also staring at a screen for a long time. We completely understand the desire to squeeze in as much gaming as possible during your all-nighter, but even pros need time away if they want a long and glittering career. Standard practice is five minutes away from the screen every hour. Even if you can’t manage that, find a schedule that works for you where your eyes can rest, and your body can move.