For many university students, staying up all night to cram for a final exam is the de facto standard, but health experts say that frequent sleep deprivation over the course of your four-year studies can unleash some serious health problems.
Reported in The Guardian in the UK on Tuesday, Susan Redline, a professor of sleep medicine in Boston, has found a link between sleep deprivation and the onset of disorders such as anxiety and bipolar depression. But that's not all: regularly forcing your body to stay awake can affect your blood pressure and inflammation levels, resulting in an increased risk of heart disease and cancer. Also sleep deprivation has been linked to enhanced risks for obesity and diabetes.
What about the short-term effects? The article also cites recent research at Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley, that links all-nighters with a temporary euphoria driven by the chemical dopamine. Yet, the temporary boost in sex drive and positivity is soon met with an increased risk of addiction and impulsive behavior.
Plus with all those late nights, students are likely relying on heavy caffeine consumption to burn the midnight oil. A 2008 study found that just one can of Red Bull, for example, could raise the risk of heart attack or stroke, even in young people.
All-night studying won't likely help your grades either, since researchers say the information won't sink in, because memories form during deep sleep. According to the American Psychological Association, your best bet is to study throughout the semester, since studies have shown that students recall a greater percentage of information when they study at different points in time, rather than in one uninterrupted bout.