I don't know about you, but back when I was in college, pulling an all nighter was practically a rite of passage. These days? I'd rather do many terrible things (like exercise or wear wet socks) before I tried pulling an all nighter. Not just because I can no longer handle it in my old age, but because it does some crazy things to your brain and body. That's right, there are scientific reasons why you shouldn't stay up all night.
Though you might think you're doing yourself a favor by staying up late to cram information into your brain, or finish whatever it is that just couldn't wait until tomorrow, but the truth is, staying up all night winds up hindering you in the long run. So the next time you're contemplating staying up all night, whether it's for a last minute project, a work engagement, wrapping presents, or just for funsies, you'll want to think twice. Regardless of what the day ahead of you holds, from mood swings to looking like you just stayed up all night, read on to find out why you shouldn't stay up all night, and why sleep really is the best thing ever.
1. Your Memory Is Shot
As Dr. Charles Czeisler chairman of the board of the National Sleep Foundation and chief of sleep medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, told Buzfeed, sleep allows your hippocampus to replay what you learn while you're awake. Czeisler further explainedthat this act helps you ingrain the things you've learned into your long-term memory. When you don't sleep, those things don't get ingrained into your long-term memory.
2. Your Problem Solving Skills Go Down The Drain
Czeisler added that, during REM sleep, your brain integrates new memories with your old memories, which can help you gain insight in every day situations. He told Buzzfeed that some of the perks of this integrations include recognizing patterns and solving problems without consciously thinking about it. And when you don't sleep, you miss out on that REM cycle, thereby impairing your problem solving skills.
3. You'll Be Cranky AF
When you're tired, you're cranky. It's a universal notion. A study done by the University of Pennsylvania showed that subjects who were limited to less than five hours of sleep reported an increase of stress, anger, and irritability. If less than five hours can cause a noticeable difference, imagine the increase in effects of these negative emotions on no sleep.
4. Your Brain Will Be Full Of Toxins
Your brain spends the night detoxing. Because it uses a lot of energy during the day, Health Blurbs noted that the brain is full of metabolic waste. When you sleep, your brain processes and gets rid of this metabolic waste. But when you don't sleep, you take away the time your brain needs to process the waste, and so it stays in your brain. Basically, by not sleeping, you're just filling your brain up with garbage it'll have to deal with the next time you hit the sack.
5. You'll Eat Twice As Much
You've been there before, right? You're halfway through your binge session with Netflix, it's three in the morning, and you're starving. It doesn't matter what time you ate dinner, you just feel the need to snack. This is because, according to Huffington Post, when you don't sleep, your body produces more ghrelin, the hormone that makes you want to eat. And when you're awake, your body doesn't produce enough leptin, the hormone that urges you to stop eating. Which is why you've surrounded yourself with any type of sustenance you could find.
6. Your Decision Making Skills Are Impaired
At this point, it should come as no surprise that going without sleep impairs your decision making abilities. Similarly to how a lack of sleep impairs your ability to problem solve, it also makes it harder for you to make decisions. According to Science Daily without sleep, your brain increases its levels of natural painkillers like dopamine, which is why you feel a little loopy, and more prone to bad decision making.
7. You'll Look Exhausted
You're not just going to feel tired, you're going to look tired too. a study published by the National Institutes of Health found that missing out on sleep affects your blood vessels, dilating them and making those grocery bags under your eyes twice as heavy . The study went on to state that the only thing that can get blood flowing back to these vessels, helping you look less tired, is sleep. So it turns out beauty sleep is actually a real thing.
8. You Won't Pick Up On Social Cues
According to a study published in the Cellular and Molecular Life Science journal, not sleeping affects the prefrontal cortex of your brain, which helps you make sense of social interaction. Sleep deprivation lessens your ability to assess a social situation, which means you could be a little more awkward than usual around the water cooler if you stayed up all night.
9. You're Basically A Drunk Person
According to Drowsy Driving, being awake for 18 hours is the equivalent of having a blood alcohol level of .08 percent, which is considered legally drunk. The longer you're awake, the more your body acts as though it's had more to drink. So if you haven't slept and you're considering driving? Think twice. Because even though you haven't been drinking, your brain is fried, and you shouldn't be behind the wheel.