The Case for Sleep

Sleeping in Class
“Sleeping in Class” © 2010 Stephen McGrath CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

It’s that time of year – the leaves are changing color, absolutely everything is pumpkin flavored, and midterms are upon us. With full course loads and looming exams, many students are particularly liable to pull an all-nighter to cram for a big test and finish another paper.

So when I came across an interesting blog post from the Mind the Science Gap blog from the Risk Science Center (you should definitely check that out if you have no idea what I’m talking about – it’s phenomenal), I thought it’d be perfect for midterms season.

It turns out, pulling all-nighters is detrimental to your grades and your health. A cursory PubMed search yields studies supporting this.

Sheila Doraiswamy, contributor to the Mind the Science Gap blog writes:

“A night of sleep loss reduces your cognitive function the next day, making it hard to focus and increasing your tendency to “zone out,” among several other things.  A recent study published in the Journal of Sleep Research entitled, “The Effect of Sleep Loss on Next Day Effort” ,found that after a full night of sleep deprivation, students had slower reaction times, trouble concentrating and decision making, and reduced effort (meaning they were more likely to choose to perform simpler tasks and give up on difficult tasks compared with students who had had a good night’s sleep). It sounds like most of those functions are pretty important come exam time!”

Read the full blog entry here. Now go get some sleep.

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