We asked the UCLA sleep center what an all nighter does to your body
We know what you did last finals week
Campuses do their best to curb the demands on students by providing an assortment of resources, including stress-management seminars, time-management lectures, mental health counselors, and massages during finals week. Still, students confess that they regularly put themselves through “all nighters,” exchanging a night of sleep for some extra hours of work.
Recently, The Tab published an article on which campuses across the nation have the students who pull the most all nighters. UCLA ranked 12th on the list.
We asked the UCLA sleep center what exactly is happening to you while you force yourself to stay awake. Dr. Michael R Irwin, a Cousins Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, remarked, “all night sleep deprivation, even loss of sleep for part of the night, leads to increases in inflammation. Inflammation is the key biologic culprit in risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even certain types of cancer.”
“Sleep loss also increases the risk for depression,” he continued. “Women are especially vulnerable to the effects of sleep loss, and are more likely to show increases in inflammation, and in depression.”
If you’ve ever pulled an all nighter, you know that it takes a serious toll. Antonia Alvina, UCLA alumni, shared his experiences with us. “I pulled 3 all nighters in my last quarter at UCLA. I would spend most of it in the library,” explained Avina. “I drank Gatorade because there was a vending machine. Coffee and energy drinks don’t work for me.”
Avina also said that he would go for walks every few hours and get water to stay focused. Though this was helpful during the night, the next day he would feel “absolutely shattered.”
At the end of this quarter, maybe it would be in your best interest to plan accordingly and make sure you can get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Skip the undie-run if you have to.