Are All-Nighters Ever Worth It?
Most of us have encountered situations when sleep must be sacrificed for the sake of success. Regardless of the cause, whether procrastination or a lack of planning, pulling an all-nighter can happen. However, pulling an all-nighter now and then to finish a project or to study may do more harm than many think.
The Problem With All-Nighters:
- One study revealed that as many as 2/3 of students have pulled at least one all-nighter during a semester. Unfortunately for students, this lack of sleep causes depression and irritability, which impacts the brain’s ability to retain information.
- Another study reports that only 11.4% of students in the past week have gotten enough sleep to feel rested. Quality sleep is essential for students, because it’s during REM sleep when the brain embeds the information it’s learned during the day. Without it, the brain can’t perform properly.
- The mean GPA for students is 2.8, but it’s 2.65 for sleep-deprived students. A few nights’ worth of all-nighters may lead to more than just a few groggy mornings — they can impact your grades, too.
Preparation is the key to successfully pulling an all-nighter. Here are some ways to help you stay awake. However, there are consequences.
Common Ways To Pull An All-Nighter:
- Drinking Caffeine: While a few cups may help you stay awake initially, it will only offer a temporary boost, and may leave you feeling jittery.
- Playing Music: It may help you feel energized, but take care to play songs without lyrics so they won’t distract you.
- Eating Snacks: Snacking can help keep you awake, but choose wisely. Stay away from fatty foods like burgers and fries, which can slow you down.
- Exercising: A few jumping jacks may help to get the blood pumping, but don’t overexert yourself, as it may exhaust you even more.
- Bright Lights: Keep on a few lights so you’ll stay awake, but dim your monitor a bit so you don’t experience eye strain.
Another Option: Power Naps
- A quick nap can have positive results including increased alertness and enhanced brainpower. Consider taking a break to sleep to re-charge the body’s batteries and reduce one’s overall sleep debt.
- Closing your eyes for a limited time can leave a person feeling refreshed afterward. Naps can also boost the immune system.
- People who take daily 30-minute naps are 37% less likely to die of heart disease than those who don’t nap.
However, don’t power nap unless you’re sure you’ll be able to wake up and continue working afterwards. For some, even closing their eyes for 10 minutes will make them fall asleep for the night.
Short-Term & Long-Term Effects:
The effects from pulling all-nighters do not go away as soon as you’d think.
- A lack of sufficient sleep can lead to poor concentration and a shortened attention span.
- Researchers found that participants who pulled an all-nighter experienced bouts of euphoria and heightened positive feelings. However, this surge of overly optimistic emotions is short-lived and it may lead to risky behavior.
- Your ability to learn and retain information decreases. The parts of our brains that deal with memory are more active when we get some sleep. While spending the night cramming, you may not remember the information in the long run.
- Lack of sleep can cause people to lose the ability to read the emotions of others. It can impact the ability to control your emotions. During sleep, the brain releases neurotransmitters, which help organize emotions.
Chronic sleep deprivation can cause long-term side effects including:
- Pulling all-nighters alters the hormones that tell you when to eat and when to stop eating. Lack of sleep causes an imbalance in these hormones. Weight gain can happen as a result.
- Lack of sleep makes it difficult for your body to filter out glucose. This can lead to diabetes or kidney failure.
- Chronic sleep deficiency can lead to insulin resistance and diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
- Frequently pulling all-nighters weakens the immune system. You are left feeling too sick to get work done.
Please enjoy the infographic.
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Via: Online Colleges Guide