Why All Nighters Are Impacting Your Health

All-nighters are a staple for college students, if you aren’t sleep deprived then you’re either responsible or you can learn information through osmosis. While all-nighters may seem ideal to complete all of your work they can be detrimental to your well being.

The National Sleep Foundation cites data from, “Sleep Health: The Journal of National Sleep Foundation” they report that adults ages 18 to 25 should sleep an average of seven to nine hours a day. Lack of sleep can cause a number of things that can affect your health and wellbeing. The Center for Disease Control writes on its website that lack of sleep can lead to diabetes, heart disease, obesity and depression. Staying up all night can also affect your performance in the classroom, so if you pull an all-nighter for one class it can affect your grade in another. If you’re sleepy throughout the day, you will have trouble concentrating or making decisions. 

The CDC also lists some tips for better sleep hygiene. Try to be consistent about going to sleep and when you wake up in the morning. Going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time each day can improve your sleep happiness. To most students' dismay, this applies to weekends as well. Another tip is to ensure that your room is dark and quiet. Avoid having TVs, computers and smartphones in the bedroom. This can be hard if you’re a phone fanatic like I am; if you absolutely have to have your computer or phone in your room, try turning it off an hour before bedtime and placing it away from your bed. The CDC also recommends to avoid eating large meals and drinking caffeine before bed. Exercising during the day can also help you fall asleep more easily at night. 

If you find that you absolutely have to stay up all night finishing last-minute assignments, try taking a nap during the day. Taking naps can boost your brainpower, but taking naps after 3 p.m. can make it harder for you to fall asleep at night. Limit your naps to 15 or 20-minute intervals. Avoid 30-minute naps because they can cause sleep inertia or a sleepy state that occurs after your nap. This happens because your body wakes after starting its sleep cycle.

To completely avoid all-nighters, try completing assignments before the deadline. If this is hard for you, try using a calendar to get ahead of all your due dates. This way you can visualize when your assignments are due and set aside enough time to complete them.

If you get distracted easily or have trouble completing assignments, try studying with friends who motivate you to complete your work. If you prefer to study alone try leaving your phone in another room to prevent distractions and try not to study with the TV on. Most people believe that they can multitask, but this isn’t true.  A study by the University of Basel in Switzerland reports that multitasking can create a cognitive overload and hurt performance.

The next time you decide to pull an all-nighter just remember that your health and how you perform academically could be at risk.