For College Students, Yes, Sleep Matters

Cramming for exams and late night parties may seem "normal," but they're not good for your brain.

Medically Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on July 15, 2012
1 min read

Q: My friend says I'm ruining my health by pulling all-nighters, but I say it's no big deal. Who's right?

A: You're kidding, right? People do vary slightly in their sleep needs, but the idea that a person can exist on three or four -- or no -- hours of sleep a night is FALSE. In fact, you're in the crowd of college students who are chronically sleep-deprived -- which research links to a variety of health problems.

"Lack of sleep impairs your ability to learn, remember, and process new facts," says Donna Arand, PhD, DABSM, clinical director of the Kettering Sleep Disorders Center in Dayton, Ohio. That sort of defeats the purpose of trading sleep for studying in the first place.

That's not to say occasional all-nighters are disastrous. Just keep them to a minimum, and clock nine hours as often as you can. Your brain and body (and your friend) will thank you.

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