Your Ability to Retain Information Decreases
Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492…or was it 1482? You just learned this last night, why can’t you remember? Well collegiettes, sleep deprivation impacts how much we learn. “Sleep is an essential component of learning: the less you sleep, the less you learn,” says Abaluck. According to a study by Harvard Medical School and Boston Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the parts of our brains that deal with memory are more active when we get some sleep. Even though you spent all night cramming, you won’t remember any of that information in the long run, let alone for the exam you’ve been studying for! If you can’t remember the material for this exam, you definitely won’t remember much come finals!
You’re writing out a short answer response and you just can’t focus! An insufficient amount of sleep may be the reason you’re having a hard time concentrating. According to the British Broadcasting Corporation, just one sleepless night can shorten our attention span, making it more difficult for us to concentrate. It is necessary for you to stay focused when trying to ace your test!
We’ve all been there before: you’re stuck between two multiple choice options. Making the final decision is even more difficult when you’re sleep-deprived. According to a study from UC Berkeley, sleep deprivation shuts down the prefrontal cortex. For those of you who aren’t neuroscience majors, the prefrontal cortex is a fancy term for the part of the brain that is in charge of planning and decision-making. Shutting down the prefrontal cortex makes us more susceptible to making spontaneous decisions, which isn’t ideal when it comes to an important test.
Friday Afternoon: A Fight with Your Friend
Everything was just fine until your friend said something that made you irrationally mad, or vice versa. Although you’ve calmed down after an hour or two, the damage is already done. What even happened? Believe it or not, collegiettes, pulling all-nighters can alter the way we handle social situations.
If the daily stress of college and the monthly PMS symptoms don’t make us moody enough, a lack of sleep can impact our ability to control our emotions. In a recent study, Harvard Medical Center showed that pulling all-nighters can give us terrible mood swings. There’s a reason that you are able to objectively look at a bad grade or a fight with your boyfriend after a good night’s sleep. While we’re sleeping, our brains release different kinds of neurotransmitters, which help organize our emotions and maintain our cognitive thinking. There’s an imbalance of these neurotransmitters when we don’t sleep, thus the mood swings. The next time you get mad at your friend after a sleepless night, it may just be your moods swinging in full force.
Sleep deprivation also impacts the way we perceive certain situations. “Lack of sleep also impairs interpersonal skills,” says Abaluck. “Sleep deprivation causes people to lose the ability to accurately read the emotions of others.” You could easily be offending your friends without realizing. For the sake of your friends, get some sleep!
Friday Night: Let’s Party!
Now that you’re finally done with your exam, you’re going to go to sleep, right? Of course not! We’re collegiettes™, after all! Who doesn’t like to celebrate the end of a stressful week? While putting on your chicest outfit and going to a frat party sounds amazing, staying up late again makes things even worse! “It’s really important to get sleep,” says Greene. “I think a habit that a lot of college students have is that they’ll pull the all-nighter and, when it’s done, they want to go out and celebrate.” I know missing out on a party isn’t ideal, but getting some sleep is a must. Another night with minimal to no sleep will leave even the most fabulous collegiette feeling more sleep-deprived. “The shorter the period of sleep that you obtain, the more dramatic effect of sleep deprivation,” says Abaluck.