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All-Nighters Are Harmful: Here’s Why

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All-Nighters Are Harmful: Here’s Why

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Pulling an all-nighter in college is often a badge of honor. But staying up all night can be highly detrimental to your physical, mental and emotional health at any age.


Whether you’re cramming for a test, pushing to meet a work deadline, staying up with a sick child, binge-watching Netflix or even partying with friends, voluntarily skipping sleep is harmful. In fact, studies show that sleep deprivation is just as bad for your performance as alcohol intoxication.


Next time you’re tempted to stay up all night, here are nine good reasons why you should get some rest instead. 

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1. Your immune defenses wear down.

During sleep, your immune system is working hard to ward off illness and infection. When you skip sleep, your body becomes vulnerable because it doesn’t produce antibodies and proteins called cytokines in order to protect you. 

 

2. You lose short-term memory.

Sleep deprivation reduces your short-term memory and even harms your long-term recall of information. As you can imagine, low cognitive function is the opposite of what you need for an important exam or work event the next day.

 

3. You mess with your circadian rhythm. 

A regular sleep cycle is vital to a range of biological functions, including digestion, hormone levels, body temperature and more. All-nighters throw off your circadian rhythm, causing disruptions to these processes. 

Circadian System

4. You bottom out on energy.

Though it may be obvious, pulling an all-nighter can cause physical fatigue. In addition to low energy levels, your body may experience reduced strength and increased pain perception. For athletes, all-nighters can be a huge blow to performance. 

 

5. You cut down your ability to focus.

Sleep deprivation limits your cognitive abilities, especially your mental focus. You may experience a shorter attention span, slower reaction time, impaired creative thinking and more. 

 

6. You experience anxiety and moodiness.

Skipping sleep also wreaks havoc with your mood. After an all-nighter, you’re more likely to experience moodiness and irritability. Sleep deprivation is also linked to a higher level of cortisol, the stress hormone, which can make you feel anxious and edgy. If you already have a mood disorder or depression, symptoms are likely to become aggravated as well. 

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7. You chow down on junk food.

Pulling an all-nighter can tempt you to reach for junk food instead of healthier options. You’re more likely to consume high-calorie foods and disrupt your digestion in addition to your sleep routine. 

 

8. Your academic or work performance may suffer.

Cramming all night for an exam is counterproductive, as studies show that pulling frequent all-nighters results in bad grades. This goes for the workplace as well. Fatigued employees are 3x more likely to display poor performance. In addition, workplace accidents are more common with sleep deprived employees.

 

9. You put yourself at risk of disease.

While an occasional all-nighter is ok, a pattern of staying up can put you at risk of diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and stroke. In extreme cases, excessive sleep deprivation can even lead to death. Overall, creating better sleep habits can pay off for your health in the long term.

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Forgo the all-nighter and get to bed

Whenever possible, forgo the all-nighter and get a good night’s rest. If you have to stay up all night for work or something else, try to make up the sleep as soon as possible with a nap the next day and/or a lie-in over the weekend. And remember: Polysleep is here to make your sleep as soothing as can be. Check out our ultra-comfy pillows and mattresses to transform your bedroom into a true sleep sanctuary. 

 

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