In a study of 200 college students, researchers at the University of Cincinnati’s Health Promotion and Education Program found that the undergrads were seriously deprived of sleep, which has the potential to hinder learning ability.
The lead author Adam Knowlden is a doctoral student who instructs classes on stress management. He said the students aren’t doing themselves any favors by pulling all-nighters.
“Sleep helps us save energy. It repairs cells in the body. And it’s key for memory consolidation,” said Knowlden. “During sleep, the brain acts like a hard-drive on a computer. It goes in and cleans up memories and makes connections stronger, and it gets rid of things it doesn’t need.”
The researcher said that stress management and healthy sleep patterns go hand-in-hand, since a good night’s rest can reduce tension, and tools and resources to control anxiety may help individuals get to sleep easier.
Students or workers who have trouble sleeping at night may want to try some stress-relieving exercises or techniques before tucking themselves in, Knowlden said. Additionally, he noted that writing in a journal before bed may help to reduce worried thoughts.