All-Nighters All Wrong for Top Grades

Students Who Study All Night Tend to Have Lower Grade Point Averages

Medically Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on December 07, 2007
From the WebMD Archives

Dec. 7, 2007 -- Just in time for final exams, a new study shows that pulling an all-nighter to study isn't the wisest idea.

Students who study all night tend to have lower grade point averages than those who don't, according to Pamela Thacher, PhD.

Thacher, an assistant professor of psychology at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., studied 120 college students at a four-year liberal arts college.

Most of the students -- 60% -- reported pulling at least one all-nighter while at college. Those students also had lower GPAs than their well-rested peers.

"You can't do your best work when you're sleep deprived," Thacher says in a university news release.

There were some exceptions. Thacher notes that a minority of students who had pulled more than one all-nighter "maintain excellent GPAs."

But for most students, studying all night "is not an effective practice for learning and achieving academic goals," writes Thacher.

She dug a little deeper to see if procrastination was to blame. But data from 111 students show that the students weren't staying up all night to study because they had blown off earlier study sessions.

Thacher's findings are scheduled to appear in the January 2008 edition of Behavioral Sleep Medicine, according to a St. Lawrence University news release.

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SOURCES: Associated Professional Sleep Societies' Sleep 2007 meeting, Minneapolis, June 9-14, 2007. News release, St. Lawrence University.

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