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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian


    < The All-Too-Common All-Nighter,

    With approaching exams and deadlines, pulling an all-nighter can seem like a reasonable option, but it is not. Sleep deprivation proves to be costly.

    The sleep-deprived brain neither acquires nor retains information as well as when fully rested. After an all-nighter, memory recall has been shown to be slower and less accurate. And, to complicate matters, when the brain is low on sleep, memory and judgment are impaired, but confidence in them increases.

    Although it is often turn to, caffeine is not a solution. Caffeine can mask fatigue, but it does not help cognitive performance. Cramming for hours before an exam is less effective than studying for the same number of hours distributed over a few days. As for staying up all night to write that paper, we can apply Hemingway, who said, “the first draft of anything is sh*%!”

    Typically, an all-nighter leads to a day of missed classes, poor learning and academic performance, and lengthy naps. Those naps, especially when they are later in the day, undercut one’s ability to fall asleep at the usual bedtime. Often, this shifts sleep periods back to later hours. Some start cutting back on sleep due to the later bedtime. This pattern also shows up with irregular bedtimes. Regardless of cause for reducing sleep, the resulting fatigue also can compromise judgment and self-care.

    Deprivation of sleep is not certain doom, although it can lead to serious consequence. For example, driving while sleep-impaired is very dangerous. When people attempt to set world records for staying awake, they can often recover in just a couple of days of allowing themselves to sleep without constraints. However, the constraints of campus demands and environment greatly challenge full sleep recovery. Further, full recovery is easier with a good understanding of optimal sleep.

    If you are having sleep problems, call the Wellness Center at x4080 and ask to schedule a sleep-assessment appointment with Drew Weis. Or for questions, contact Drew or a SWA.

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