Currently in school, or not, everyone knows about the all-nighter. Groan. However, I'm not in school anymore – well, OK, life is a school – but I still do occasional all-nighters with my work. But they're a really punk idea as our guest author today explains.
Many working mothers who are in college, or even just taking care of little ones see pulling late nighters, or even all nighters, as a fact of life. They also often labor under the mistaken belief that studying all night will help them get better grades and get everything done. In truth, staying up too late will hurt you instead of helping. It will also lead you to a variety of other issues, many health-related, that will damage your life. The next time you are tempted to stay up all night to study or do a project for your children, consider this:
♣ Retention. Though all night cramming might allow you to remember the material short-term, recalling that same information later in the day, like at test time, will be difficult or impossible. Within a few days, it will be gone from your mind altogether. This is because sufficient sleep is necessary for the brain to store information in long-term memory. So, while you feel that you have learned a lot through your all night study session, the truth is that you are only temporarily storing it and it will be gone when you need to recall it.
♣ Alertness. Pulling a late-nighter will make you mentally fuzzy and disoriented the next day, or even for a few days. This will cause you to have a greatly decreased performance on examinations and will put you at higher risk for making costly mistakes that can greatly hurt your grades, or make you tired at work–exactly the opposite of your goals when staying up all night. This decrease in alertness can be an added hazard for students who also work. Many workplace injuries involving college students can be traced back to a lack of restful sleep.
♣ Health. Pulling late night or all night cramming sessions might not hit you right away but will have a negative effect on your immune system, which makes you more susceptible to illness. It will do little good to study all night if you have to miss several days of classes because you came down with an illness. In addition, many students who pull late nighters rely heavily on caffeine or other stimulants to keep them alert. This can lead to dependency and can also be very taxing on your cardiovascular system. Although small amounts of coffee can be healthy, large amounts of coffee, energy drinks, or other stimulants can lead to mental fogginess, disorientation, and hallucinations. If abused for long periods, it can also increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
So how can you succeed in life without all-nighters? Although you may occasionally have no other choice, most all night sessions can be avoided by careful planning and studying. Instead of waiting until the last minute to do a project or assignment or study for a test, break it into smaller chunks and work on it everyday. This way, you can keep those good grades (and your sanity) while still getting enough sleep. It takes more discipline to do so, but it will make you happier and even more productive.
Neltje M is a writer for MyCollegesandCareers.com. My Colleges and Careers helps people determine if an online education is right for them and helps them understand which courses are available through accredited online colleges to help them reach their goals.