Pulling a US Election all nighter? Here's what you should eat

The 2016 US Election feels too important to sleep through, so here's how to keep yourself energised for the long night

hillary clinton eating

We might not have a vote here across the pond, but it's not that controversial to say this feels like the election that will define the course of world politics for decades.

So, it's no surprise that plenty of us Brits are planning to settle in for the long night, clutching our teddy bears for comfort as we wait to see whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump has been elected the next US President, agonising over polling data and expert analysis for hours before inevitably falling asleep half an hour before the final result is announced.

Obviously one of the essentials of any good election all nighter is food, but what food? Should you lace everything with coffee? Keep yourself perked up with sugary snacks? Nibble on carrot sticks and celery? What's the best way to survive a sleepless night on one of the most important nights of our lives?

Here's the answer.

Plenty of protein

This is the best news. We've already recommended people stick to protein for breakfast for a proper wake up, and an all nighter is no different. The essential amino acids in protein keep your metabolism ticking along and you awake and alert. We recommend foods like lean chicken, peanut butter, hummus and yoghurt.

Eat in small amounts and space it out

There are two reasons for this. The first is that our bodies don't really like us eating when we'd normally be asleep. It can cause sudden spikes in blood sugar and over time can cause weight gain (though we wouldn't panic about that on a one off like tonight). Those blood sugar spikes can lead to crashes later, so scoffing on snacks continuously all night won't do you any favours.

The second obvious thing is that eating huge meals make us sleepy - so maybe don't start the evening with a roast dinner.

Instead eat small portions and go with light foods. Try high fibre fruits like berries and mangoes, or the occasional cherry tomato or carrot stick.

Avoid sugar (sorry) and carbs

Those pesky blood sugar spikes, they won't let us have any fun. The more tired you get, the more you'll want to eat sugary and salty snacks, but you should keep resisting. Sugar crashes are real and they will knock you out.

Make sure you have plenty of non-sugary snacks like nuts, and if you do want some carbs, go with slow release complex carbohydrates like porridge oats.

Drink lots of water

Drinking water improves concentration and energy levels, and dehydration causes fatigue. It could also cause anger, which is something to think about if the result doesn't go your way later... Either way, keep pouring in the H2O.

Ration out the caffeine

Ask yourself - how much coffee do you usually drink in the course of the day? If it's limited to two cups of tea, downing jugs of coffee on an all nighter is not going to wake you up. You'll just give yourself palpitations. Try and ration the caffeine based on what you're used to during the day.

dog with coffee

Either way, if you let too much caffeine into your system at once you'll make yourself feel ill and increase your chances of going to bed, so have small amounts, every now and again, with food. We recommend tea, not coffee, so as not to overwhelm your system.

Other quick tips

Staying awake isn't just about what you eat and drink. There are lots of other things you can do to stay on it all night. Make sure the lights are up bright, get up and stretch from time to time, and think about taking a couple of twenty minute naps in the course of the night - provided you have the discipline to get up again.

Have you stocked up for tonight like a survivalist  getting ready for the apocalypse? What fabulous treats have you prepared and how are you planning to keep yourself awake? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @JustHospitality.