It is common for students to spend their days watching Netflix and hanging out with friends and end up panicking when 10 o’clock hits. The sun starts setting faster and the clock is ticking quicker than usual. The dream of getting a good grade on the test or assignment the following morning is fading away. There is only one option left: pull an all-nighter.
Urban Dictionary defines an all-nighter as “[High school and college students] ditching sleep to spend several more hours cramming for tests, only to notice … drool on [the] desk in front of the class the next day.” While most people go in with the vision of a productive night and competing work in success, they often forget the suffering and crying that must be endured throughout the night. The emotions that individuals go through can be explained through the 7 stages of grief (because most of these people can find themselves mourning their sanity and the little quality of life they have).
Stage 1- Denial:
“This is going to be great,” says every student before the night. “I’m going get things done and be completely ready for that next the next morning,” they continue to lie to themselves. Students, for motivation, may announce their plan to the internet with enthusiasm. That way, if they are found dead the next morning from exhaustion, the forensic team will know cause of death. The common idea is that if they eat a lot of food and play loud music, they will “feel awake and energized all night”. To them, the world says: “May the odds be in your favor”.
Stage 2- Pain:
After denial comes pain, an agonizingly long stage. Later in the night, all the cramming will inevitably end in a headache. The pain may also come from one hitting his or her head against the wall out of defeat. So basically, all-nighters are all pain and weight gain. “Pulling all-nighters alters the way our bodies filter glucose, which could ultimately lead to diabetes or kidney failure,” states Kelsey Mulvey from Her Campus.
Stage 3- Anger:
After the stage of pain passes, the brain has room to process the anger. Students will start feeling angry at one’s self, one’s life, and fictional characters within popular culture that made this look fun and mature. The fury is normal during an all-nighter as “research shows that a night of sleep loss affects mood, [which can lead] to experiences of negative emotions such as anger and rage,” reports Psychology Today. This is why many people may envision a laptop to be a punching bag at some point.
Stage 4 - Depression:
It is around the middle of the night, and it is stage four: depression and loneliness. Absorbed in the siren like buzz of the quiet, the student cries at how pathetic her life has become. While the world is sleeping, the student reminisces of the days when sleeping at nine o’ clock used to be late. University of California Berkley’s psychology department explains that the depressed feeling that all-nighters cause is actually “strong mood swings [that] can affect [the] ability to make decisions.” Everyone knows that teenagers do not have enough mood swings as it is.
Stage 5 and 6- The Upward Turn:
Just when the all hope is lost, the sun is starting to come up and the birds begin chirping again. The all-nighter is almost over; tears of sadness have turned into tears of joy. Things are looking better again, and life is starting to turn around. As a reward, one might decide to take a power nap. But, of course, as life would have it, a five minute nap turns into a thirty minute one, the bus comes and goes, and one finds herselves rushing out the door with the smell of disaster and dry drool on their chin.
Stage 7- Acceptance:
Anyone who regularly takes part in all-nighters can attest that seven to eight hours of non-stop studying with no sleep is the best way fry to one’s memory like a zombie. According to the Daily Mail, “Memory neurons that convert short-term memory to long-term work most effectively when a person is asleep.” This zombie-like lifestyle brings the individual to acceptance: the stage where one accepts that this is how her life is going to be. Sleep is the sacrifice they have to make to get a good grade.
The word “all-nighter” goes hand in hand with cramming, and these two words also go hand in hand with the term “useless”. As much as all-nighters are “fun”, they are not some sort of ritual that will make or break a student’s academic career. If a student wants to do well in school, sleep is more helpful, but if an all-nighter is what it takes, be aware of the mind and body. Throughout the night, take five minute power naps or do light exercise, such as yoga or jogging in place, to keep the mind alert. Choose to drink water over coffee and healthy protein over junk food. Health should be the number one priority, not just grades.