Why am I more awake when I get less sleep?


This topic actually applies to me right now… with all the cramming and parties that college students are a part of during the week and weekend it’s hard to get enough sleep, or so we think. Last night I went to sleep at around 4:30 in the morning cramming for an exam and I woke up way earlier than I usually do for work and had amazing energy throughout the day. This confuses me so much. Parents and teachers are always throwing the whole “get a good night’s sleep” in which they mean 8 or more hours of sleep. We’ve been told this since before we can remember, and yes getting 8 hours or more of sleep is extremely important, but most of the time it’s almost impossible for students and even adults with work, families, etc. I’ve heard from a lot of friends throughout high school and especially now that when someone gets less sleep than usual they are usually more alert the next day. Why is this?


It is shown that the less sleep you get the more active some parts of your brain become, while others become more inactive. When you sleep longer than you should or less than you should, you disturb your sleeping patterns, or circadian rhythm. This causes you to either wake up during a REM(deep sleep) cycle and feel even more tired or to wake up before you even hit the deep sleep cycle and be more alert. However, I’m not saying people shouldn’t sleep…especially students. Sleep actually enhances a person’s memory and learning ability. The more you sleep the better your brain can perform and the more information you can retain. When you’re fully awake is the best time to encounter new information and begin to memorize it, when you’re sleeping is when you actually retain the memory and it sticks in your brain. Sleep is still very important and necessary in everyone’s life. Would you pull all-nighters if you knew you’d be less tired in the morning?

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8 thoughts on “Why am I more awake when I get less sleep?

  1. Adelaide Christine Edgett

    Wow, this is very interesting. I never sleep, I work 8 hours 4 days a week in addition to being a full time student, studying for the LSATs and being a senior member of the coffee club and tea club. I am a senior and I can tell you, the energy you feel after missing a few days of sleep is normal. Once sleep deprivation occurs, which it will inevitably do once you’re in my position, you will long for a night when you get at least 5 hours of sleep. It’s really sad, but as everyone says, “that’s college”.

  2. lkr5215

    This is very interesting. For me i feel the opposite i would like to get more sleep since i have a sleeping problem . I am always tired all day always yawning in classes i applaud you for getting through the days without much sleep. The facts and ideas you presented in the blog are ideas I had not entirely thought of.

  3. Allison Maria Magee

    Although I have felt this sensation of feeling more awake with less sleep before, I do believe that the loss of sleep eventually catches up to you. I may feel more awake the next morning, or even the whole day but, I think lack of sleep builds on each other. I have found that many of my roommates pull all nighters consecutively and, as a result, end up sleeping a whole day and missing all their classes. I find this article very interesting because it lists all of the bad things that happen when you don’t get enough sleep.


  4. Matthew Hogan

    I thought this was very interesting and this has always been something I wondered about. This applies to me a lot because I have 8 am class Monday, Wednesday, and Friday but I don’t have class until 1:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I get less sleep before my 8 am classes but I am always much more tired when I am waking up on Tuesday and Thursday.

  5. gcm5149

    I can relate to certain aspects of you blog. Definitely when I’ve slept less I feel like I am wide awake during the day. Although, I do think sleeping is vital to many aspects of life. For example, if you work out, sleep is vital. It’s vital because that time is when you recover the most. Your muscle fibers get torn up while working out so they need to revere. Also, if you are sick, sleep is important because the more you sleep, the stronger your immune system gets. I found this blog really interesting because it is relatable but the healthier option I think would to get a good amount of sleep daily.

  6. Alex Felton

    I definitely agree with this in some aspects. Whenever I seem to get a short nights sleep, the energy levels are high early on in the day then by around 12 I seem to crash. I feel as if its almost false energy as it is not enough sustainable stored sleep to keep you going throughout the entire day. Interesting post overall and something I have thought about many times!

  7. Linghao Yang

    I totally agree with this idea. Every time when I sleep at 2 or 3 ‘clock, it is easier for me to go to my 8 ‘clock class in the morning. However, if I sleep at 11 o’clock, I can not wake up at that time. I was so confused before. Why I can not wake up even though I sleep more? After reading this article, I finally know why. Here’s a website that also talks about this. https://www.quora.com/Why-is-it-that-I-feel-more-awake-and-alert-from-sleeping-4-hours-than-I-do-when-I-sleep-6-hours

  8. Casey Patrick Brennan

    This is very interesting as I can definitely relate. Although, I’m usually on the spectrum of waking up mid REM sleep and being extremely tired. The fact that our brain has different sections working at different times of our sleep is very interesting. I was curious about the stages of sleep and the difference between them and I found this website explaining it. https://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/what-happens-when-you-sleep
    You could also add specific brain parts that are active within each stage to give the post a more in-depth analysis.

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