Get Thee to a Bed! Sleep Is Important for Mental and Physical Health

Pulling an all-nighter – or even consecutive all-nighters – may seem like a good idea when you have a big examination looming on the horizon, but all that late-night studying may do more harm than good. Before you break out the textbooks, class notes, and a liter of your tongue-curdling coffee-and-5-Hour-Energy-shot cocktail, consider the adverse affects that your habit of sleep deprivation is causing. After all, your body needs a full six to eight hours of sleep every night for a reason.

There is an obvious disadvantage to not getting enough sleep: not being able to stay awake during class. While you may have stayed up all night studying mathematical formulas and physics properties for your aerodynamics and propulsion class, all of that number crunching and textbook highlighting will not make a lick of difference if you end up snoozing all through the exam. It is better to study well ahead of time, review for a few extra hours if needed, and then get a full night’s rest so that you can be alert and awake to answer the next day’s examination questions and essays.

Yet, consciousness is not the only thing to be gained from getting a full night’s rest. Studies have shown that nap time is essential because that is when the body repairs itself. Throughout the day, your muscles suffer from tiny tears and strains caused by everyday actions like walking. At night while you are snoozing, your body repairs those tears and strains so that your muscles will be in good shape for another day of being out and about. However, when you cut down on your sleep time, your body does not have the chance to repair itself, which is why in the mornings after a sleepless night, you will tend to feel sore and achy. Exhaustion also bogs down your muscle reflexes, thinking reflexes, and even your immune system, according to California State University – Dominguez Hills. This means that not only will you feel sore, but you will also not be able to think clearly. This severely impedes your capability to concentrate in class, absorb course materials outside of class, and even complete course work. In fact, those who regularly pull all-nighters tend to have slightly lower GPAs than students who get plenty of sleep, according to an article published in USA Today.

Considering all of the academic pitfalls of staying up late to study, it only makes better sense to nix the caffeine-supplemented study sessions and get yourself to bed after your eyelids begin to droop. Not only will you be rewarded with clarity on exam day, but you also will have gotten a restful night of shut-eye.

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