The Perils of Pulling an “All-Nighter”
It’s crunch time. You have a big report due tomorrow. Whether it’s your boss or a graduate school professor that’s going to be on the receiving end, it’s one of the all-time great stress-inducing situations.
You could have been working hard on it for weeks or you could be among the 20 percent of people who are considered chronic procrastinators (guilty). Either way, it often comes down to the last minute when we decide to put the finishing touches on big projects.
What does all this pressure lead to? Often, it comes down to the dreaded “all-nighter.” That moment when you push through, stay up until sunrise and get it done at the expense of a good night’s sleep. It may seem like a necessity or a good idea at the time, but the truth is it can be very damaging to your career and your health.
Here are some impacts that you need to be aware of before you decide to put in another all-nighter:
Skipping out on your sleep will lead to decreased alertness and will impair your memory and cognitive ability.
Putting in an all-nighter might get the project done, but put a strain on the rest of your job. Getting less sleep by even just an hour and a half for one night results in reduction of alertness by as much as 32 percent.
It’s more than work
Do you enjoy other aspects of your life outside of work, like relationships, activities, fitness and entertainment? The more all-nighters you pull, the less you’ll get to enjoy these things that are key to a healthy life.
If you mess with your sleep, chances are you won’t. That’s because, during the night, your mind consolidates memories during sleep cycles. Messing with that means you won’t be able to remember what you learned or experienced during the day. What’s a new promotion worth if you can’t enjoy it?!
When you skip sleep, you tend to have an increased appetite. You will also tend to eat more often and exercise less – leading to an increase in weight.
So, we all get it – the perils of pulling an all-nighter can be ugly. If you have to stay up all night, try to schedule in extra rest time the following day. Don’t overdo it on the caffeine and stay energized by taking a walk or stretching when you feel tired. Most importantly, make sure that all-nighters don’t become a common occurrence!
Do you have any good stories of times you pulled all-nighters?