All-nighters may do more harm than good

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Junior Steven Thyken’s daily schedule isn’t always friendly to his sleep cycle. Pulling all-nighters seems to be the only way to cram it all in.

”I’m taking 20 credits and then I’m also working 30 hours a week at my job, which is about 30 minutes away,” Thyken said. “It’s basically all my options.”

But burning the midnight oil may do more harm than good. St. Thomas Health and Human Performance professor Jolynn Gardner said that some sleep is better than none.

“Sleep deprivation can impair your ability to concentrate; it impairs your ability to retrieve memories which you need for a test,” Gardner said. “If you’re pulling an all-nighter to do a paper, probably the quality of your work isn’t going to be that great.”

And college students tend to need more shut eye, Gardner said.

“The recommended hours of sleep for college students is eight to 10 hours,” Gardner said. “And that’s kind of frightening considering a lot of college students sleep five, six or seven hours, so some students are only getting half the amount of sleep they actually need.”

Thyken said that pulling all-nighters is not what he prefers, but he has found methods to make the sleepless study nights successful.

“I take a lot of breaks, maybe not distraction breaks,” Thyken said. “But I’ll maybe exercise for a little bit or I will take a quick snack break and just kind of vary it up because if I’m just staring at a piece of paper for an extended amount of time, I’m going to fall asleep.”

Sara Kovach can be reached at