herald

Thursday 12 December 2019

All-nighters are a fact of life for struggling students

The idea for this column came from two-and-a-half weeks of having three to six hours sleep a night. Don't worry though, I caught up on all my hours before I wrote it, but still, I'll let you be the judge of why we students suffer so much from a lack of sleep.

Sometimes we have to stay up until all hours to study. Sometimes we have to work the late shift. But yes, sometimes we have to go out and socialise and unwind, because, well, we're students and it's in our job description, right?

Sometimes though I don't think we students quite understand the concept of having a body clock. Like the fact that there's a time to be awake, and well, a time to be asleep. It's why the sky gets dark, for example.

Sometimes we need to be reminded that sleep deprivation was used in war situations to get information out of people. This controversial practice is seen in the movie Zero Dark Thirty where a hostage is kept awake by loud music and repeatedly interrogated about the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden.

Now that's illegal of course, but people do it to themselves all the time. Whether it's staying out all night, pulling an all-nighter to study, or at the hands of young children who don't understand that mum and dad need their rest – and may even be going to college the next day!

Victim may seem like a strong word to use to describe sleep-deprived students but sometimes it is appropriate. So while it's sometimes our own fault that we burn the candle at both ends, and sometimes it's undoubtedly from a lack of responsibility, at other times it is due to a lack of options. Students with long college hours and a part-time job have no other time to work on assignments or study for exams than the wee hours.

And, dare I say it, students need to go out and have fun from time to time too. I don't recommend going out until 5am only to get up three hours later for a day of classes of course, but nor do I recommend staying in seven days a week to work and study and sleep over and over again.

But those who look down on students as irresponsible party animals need to allow them time relax, otherwise they – by which I mean me and my friends – will completely burn ourselves out!

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