"I stayed up until three this morning writing my theology paper." One student says to his friend as they eat lunch together. "Oh yeah? That sounds late. I actually pulled an all nighter," the friend replies.
I hear conversations like this every day as a Biola University student. Students brag about how little sleep they got as if they could earn a medal for their great feat. However, these people may not realize that the tough appearance they hope to project comes with devastating consequences.
I even found myself in this trap this semester. I stayed up until three a.m. so I could complete a project. I told my classmates about it and one of them told me they only had one hour of sleep. I quickly realized that I became one of those students who put "I got x hours of sleep" on their bucket list.
Even though all-nighters may only occur during finals week, they still result in drastic health consequences. Business Insider states that all-nighters elevate a stress hormone, cortisol, can make you feel hungrier because the body produces more ghrelin, decreases concentration levels, impacts memory, makes it difficult to multi task, makes it difficult to recognize someone immediately, makes it hard to remember what people say, increases irrational emotions, and affects the immune system. In addition, consistent lack of sleep produces many of the same effects, according to Healthline: depression, accident prone, accidental death, memory problems, yawning, hallucinations, impaired brain activity, micro sleep, weakened immune response, weight gain, cognitive dysfunction, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and cold and flu.
It's common sense that bodies need sleep for important functions, yet an overwhelming workload can cause people to make poor choices and feel pressured to exchange sleep for completed projects. However, this leads to a vicious cycle and can actually decrease the quality of someone's work. According to Sleep Foundation, brains consolidate memories, muscles grow, the body repairs tissue and it synthesizes hormones. Despite what students may believe, it is difficult to perform well on exams or even small assignments with little sleep. It's also difficult for a person to spend time with other people and enjoy the things they love when they feel tired and groggy.
Love your body and get some sleep. Don't feel like you're missing out if you can't check an all-nighter off on your college bucket list –– it's better to remove that entirely. Schedule adequate sleep time each night and try working ahead so you don't fall behind and lose sleep as a result. Say no to all-nighters, even if it results in lower grades or less study time.