With dead week in full-swing and finals coming up, this may mean more Western students staying up late studying and pulling all-nighters.
Although depriving the body of sleep has negative effects, Western junior Amy Holm finds all-nighters to be helpful.
Holm said that although she could benefit from starting her class work at an earlier time, she feels waiting until the night before helps her focus and stay on task.
“I find all-nighters mentally helpful,” Holm said. “It’s like, ‘oh, I’m spending a really long time studying for this test’ or, ‘oh, I’m spending a really long time writing this paper.’”
Holm said she usually pulls all-nighters or stays up fairly late most often to complete essays and articles.
“All-nighters are more helpful when you really have something you have to finish,” Holm said.
Though some students may find staying up late helpful, Sue Seelig, lead sleep technologist at the PeaceHealth Sleep Disorder Center in Bellingham, said staying up all night to study is a big mistake, especially for final exams.
“You really need to put a couple hours aside and start studying a week or two before hand,” Seelig said, who evaluates, identifies and treats problems related to sleep. “You remember things in 10-minute increments for studying purposes. Your brain remembers the first couple things and the last couple things, but doesn’t remember the things in the middle.”
Staying up all night has other negative effects besides hindering the ability to remember what’s being studied, Seelig said. When the body is deprived of sleep, the body begins to hallucinate and paranoia may ensue, Seelig said.
Emily Gibson, medical director of Western’s Health Center, said in an email that sleep deprivation can result in irritability, poor judgment and poor impulse control.
Seelig said one of the biggest problems with pulling all-nighters is the disruption of the body’s circadian rhythm: the body’s cycle, which tells the body when to stay awake and when to go to sleep, Seelig said.
“After you stay up all night your body learns not to sleep at its normal time,” Seelig said.
Holm said she has also experienced this problem. After pulling an all-nighter, Holm said she will feel awake and energetic in the morning, but can’t stop herself from sleeping once the late afternoon hits.
While Holm agrees that all-nighters may not be the best way to study for exams or finish her essays, shesaid they help relieve some of the time crunch many college students have.
“I’ve always thought there should be more hours in a day and I get that if I don’t sleep,” Holm said with a laugh.
Seelig’s best suggestion for dead week and finals week is to always start the day off right to help memory retention and relieve stress.
“The best thing I can recommend is seven hours of sleep,” Seelig said. “If you want to do good on the exam, eat a good breakfast and get a good night’s sleep.”