Just go to Sleep: The Real Effects of All-nighters

by Nicole Winks

    According to a study out of St. Lawrence University, the average college student has the tendency to believe that all-nighters are beneficial to them and will give them more time not only to study but to retain more information. The actual truth behind the effects of all-nighters is actually rather intense.  In the short term it seems like a good idea, but it has been proven that it can actually lead to serious health risks and lower grades, among other effects that may sound familiar if you have ever experienced an all-nighter. Studies indicate that some of the health-related risks associated with all-nighters are weight gain, digestive issues, mood swings, decreased cognitive ability, etc. Some of the more long-term health risks are an increased risk of substance abuse or dependency, high blood pressure, heart attack, heart failure, stroke, attention deficit disorder (ADD), depression, and other mood disorders. Chronic sleep deprivation can also result in the body slowly shutting itself down, resulting in death.

    Not only are there health risks involved from pulling all-nighters, they also do not really hold any benefit.  A study conducted by St. Lawrence University looked at students’ sleeping patterns and their transcripts and found that students who pulled all-nighters got lower grades than students who had never done an all-nighter.  All-nighters will also make one’s memory weaker.  The brain needs sleep in order to strengthen neural connections and retain information.  By depriving the brain of sleep, one is making their memory of the information weaker and less recallable.

    In the end, there is no real benefit to pulling all-nighters. They can lead to serious health risks and in some cases they can also lower your grades. So, put down the coffee and the energy drinks, study over a period of time, grab a blanket and pillow, and make sure you get some sleep.  

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