The age old question, should I sleep or study tonight? It happens almost every day for college students. Many of my friends pull all nighters studying the day before an exam and swear that it truly works but findings by Brown University say otherwise.
College students tend to be some of the most sleep deprived people in the country and it is because of the “irregularity of their sleeping habits”. According to a 2001 Brown study, only 11% of college students have a healthy sleeping schedule. So 89% of college students are having an unhealthy nights rest. According to a Brown University study college students should really be getting 8 hours of sleep a day and that is a pretty well known fact but since that rarely happens with college students I looked into the effects of getting less sleep.
College students need a full 8 hours in order to learn effectively because your brain needs “deep sleep” and “dream sleep”. The main idea in this blog is the effectiveness of “All Nighters” because many college students recommend them for their efficiency but Brown studies disagree with the effectiveness. “You can memorize facts during an all-night study session and recall the information through short-term memory for a test the next day, but you will most likely have to re-learn the material for a later cumulative exam.” All nighters may help you in the short term for one test but they certainly hurt you in the long run. This makes me think by pulling all nighters am I as a student wasting money by not actually learning the material because I am only going to forget it in a week.
The side effects are endless when not getting enough sleep. They include physically weakening your immune system and everyone seems to have a weaker immune system in college. Lack of sleep affects your mental health by resulting in tension, irritability, depression, confusion, and generally lower life satisfaction. And even if you sleep later on the weekends this adds to an irregular sleep pattern.
The final question is not the effects of all nighters but if they are worth it. That is where I think this article lacks information. You can check it out here: http://www.brown.edu/Student_Services/Health_Services/Health_Education/common_college_health_issues/sleep.php. The findings of these Brown experiments could very easily be a false positive because some people naturally need less sleep and can function well with very little sleep. I am questioning with their experiments whether they randomized correctly not only with different heights, sex and ethnicity but with different majors, different ages, and different colleges. Especially in regards to some harder majors, kids are forced to pull all nighters due to the difficulty of their classes and tests. I know personally kids who major in architectural engineering and mechanical engineering and they pull all nighters frequently and strive because of it.
Sleep is very important for college students and believe me I love a good nights sleep but sometimes I do see that it is worth it to lose sleep to study even though you may experience some of the side effects of a lack of sleep.