We have all been there. It’s Thursday and you are unprepared for your huge test on Friday. Maybe you worked 30 hours this week or got sick and missed class Monday and Wednesday. Maybe watching Netflix and taking four-hour naps seemed more important. Whatever the case is you have decided that your only choice is to pull an all-nighter because making a good grade on this exam will be worth the stress you put your mind and body through.
As a fellow procrastinator, I would advise you to put down the Red Bull and consider the consequences of your choice.
Consistent all-nighters hold the risk of hurting your grade and also your health, according to psychology.berkeley.edu. Pulling all-nighters regularly will not guarantee you a good grade and they begin a cycle of side effects of caffeine, difficulty concentrating and weight gain, according to mindthesciencegap.org.
Sleep deprivation shuts down the brain’s key planning and decision-making regions. Add that to an overload of caffeine sources and you have a short attention span mixed with an energy crash topped by altered hormones that tell your body you are hungry at 3 a.m.
When depriving yourself of sleep, you are also denying your brain the chance to repair and restore its neurons. When you do not sleep, your brain is unable to repair brain cells. Not only will you be unable to solve complicated problems during your all-nighter, but your brain will be less efficient during your test due to all the energy it has burned throughout the night.
A section of the brain called the hippocampus helps you decipher things you have learned into your long-term memory while you sleep. If you deprive yourself of sleep you are likely to have difficulty remembering the material you stayed up all night studying.
Junior nursing student Leah Douglas said she pulled all nighters last semester to bring up her test grades. “I pulled one one night and went from making 50s on exams to making a 92.”
Junior business management major Nicole Mcgill disagrees and said she would not recommend pulling an all-nighter to anyone. “It was a mistake. I would not do it again.”
So, back to that huge test you have tomorrow. All-nighters should not damage your health or grades as long as you do not make them a habit. Get organized, plan ahead, develop a healthy sleep routine and your body and GPA will be grateful.