This is a guest post by Sam.

Pulling an all nighter happens to the best of us, various reasons can occur to cause it, such as forgetting that important test you have tomorrow, or if we were too busy socialising during the weekend to recognise the importance of the test until it’s almost too late. The solution? Staying up all night to enable you to put the hours of study in. However, whilst this may allow you to study and prepare for the test, this can be bad for your health. This article is aimed at raising awareness to your health after pulling an all nighter.

Staying up all night can benefit you in an emotional sense, by staying all night, you are increasing the dosage your body gives you of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that is linked in with our pleasure and happiness feelings. This leads to a short term heightened positive feeling than had you slept, however, there are negatives to staying up all night.

According to researchers at the University of California in Berkely, your body boosts you with dopamine, it also heightens your emotional senses, which may be lead to erratic and possibly dangerous behaviourisms. This is linked in with the “Fight or Flight” mental mode that your brain will enter if it becomes increasingly tired, this is an issue, as it replaces calm and rational thoughts. This was found after some extensive research into student minds, details of the research can be found here.

As such, some of the more common symptoms of doing an all nighter include;

  • Signs of lack of energy (Yawning, heavy eye-bags and diluted eyes)
  • Slower brain to body responses
  • Irrational thoughts
  • Emotional thoughts heightened.

Whilst these symptoms may not seem like a large issue for the average student, research has shown that it is possible to decrease your learning capability permanently as well as increasing the chances of developing anxiety disorders. Staying awake throughout the night on a regular basis, isn’t good for the brain, as it can cause sleep deprivation as the brain will have no time to rest itself from it’s constant state of activity whilst we are awake, leading to our body not functioning as it is meant to, this can further lead up to, weight gain, potential brain damage and an increased chance of developing diabetes.

If you must stay up all night, then I would strongly suggest that you take 2 or 3 hours out of your night, and get a small nap in that time. This will allow your brain to rest, and help ‘recharge’ your body, allowing you to be more aware and rational the next day.

A similar research, completed by the University of Toronto, Canada, came up with similar results, Dr Wright, who conducted the research commented that “What we found was quite astonishing, the group that slept not only appeared less tired, but they were also in pleasant moods and performed daily tasks with ease. The group that remained awake, however, became increasingly tired as the 72 hours passed. Many of them began to show signs of mental instability and a lack of coordination, while others broke into spontaneous naps and had to be removed from the study.”

This bad habit isn’t limited to Ivy League schools or pre-med doctoral students who are traditionally associated with janky sleep patterns. Students at a Christian college and students who are pursuing degrees online are just as likely to be affected and should be made aware of such research. If you’re a student, advice on how to avoid staying up all night to study.

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