The Pros and Cons of the All-Nighter

As much as we love our sleep, the time always comes when we must sacrifice it in order to add crucial time to a day filled to the brim with other activities. That, and the early-morning hours are good for clubbing and parties. The all-nighter is a versatile tool for college students, but it receives a lot more criticism than it deserves. Not simply a bad habit that must be avoided, it makes for good practice in time management.

In a society where time management is increasingly a necessary life skill, sometimes the hours wasted on sleep are best for completing tasks or getting a little time to yourself. It is a smart thing to plan your day according to its needs, and sometimes that includes devoting a block of time to finishing that 15-page research paper. Early mornings are a great way to end the day and start the next day on a fun, stress-free note. College students tend to sleep in late anyway when their schedules permit it, so why not add a few hours to the day and squeeze out as much productivity as possible?

Besides, college students are not the only ones that stay up late; older people do too. Many of them adapt to this and spend the early morning hours catching up on their reading or working on some home improvement project. When everyone else is sleeping, those hours can help mend that broken chair or give the walls a fresh coat of paint. And while college students sleep in, the elderly tend to go to bed early, so their early morning exploits are essentially part of their sleep schedule anyway.

This is not to say that the conventional wisdom is false. Sleep is an important part of life, and not getting enough of it can be harmful to your health. Some people need more sleep than others. But that’s the advantage of the all-nighter – it can be used according to each person’s tolerance and sleep needs. Regular all-nighters and bouts of insomnia are problems that should be addressed, especially if the amount of sleep amounts to nothing but a longer-than-usual nap.

But, if used in such a way that a person’s sleep needs are still met, it can be a powerful ally. It’s a common sense move in a world that continues to get busier and more hectic. It may not be beneficial in a strictly biological sense, but one can definitely make the case that it is beneficial when it comes to completing tasks or carving out much needed personal or casual time.

Kerry Wakely is a second-year political science major. He can be reached at kwakely@uci.edu.