This Is What Happens To Your Body When You Pull An All-Nighter

There’s been a lot of talk on Wall Street lately about the gruelling hours that junior staff, interns, and analysts, have to work in order to get ahead.

Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and JP Morgan have all announced that they’ll start encouraging their young employees to take more time off. It’s an effort to improve their quality of life so they don’t jump ship for other companies in and out of the financial space once they’ve been trained.

It could be hard to make this new policy stick, because on Wall Street, the all-nighter is almost a rite of passage.

Here’s how it works — You’re on an important project, and your boss realises there’s a mistake in the data, or the client pushes up a meeting, or you’re just crashing on a deadline. The project has to get done, so you’re not going home.

Obviously, spending the night deep in excel instead of deep under your covers isn’t just killer for your social life, it also hurts your body — here’s what you need to know about how.

It stresses you out.

A trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange rubs his temples July 29, 1999 as stocks plunged after economic data showed a steep rise in wage costs and intensified speculation the Federal reserve may again raise interest rates. In late afternoon trading the Dow Jones industrial average was off 216.56 points at 10,755.51.

Your body elevates its levels of cortisol, also known as 'the stress hormone' when you don't get enough sleep.

It destroys your ability to concentrate.

According to study in the US National Library of Medicine and National Institute of Health, sleep deprivation affects your brain's frontal lobes, slowing down their communications.

In terms of concentration that means you are impairing your spacial, auditory and visual attention. And forget about doing anything monotonous for a long period of time.

It hurts your working memory.

Working memory can be divided into four subsystems: phonological loop, visuospatial sketchpad, episodic buffer and central executive. The phonological loop is assumed to temporarily store verbal and acoustic information (echo memory); the sketchpad, to hold visuospatial information (iconic memory), and the episodic buffer to integrate information from several different sources.

All of those are connected to how well your frontal lobe works, and that takes a hit when you don't sleep.

You can't multi-task.

Scientists tested subjects for speed and accuracy after an all-nighter. They found, because of their inability to concentrate, that subjects had to be fast or accurate. They were unable to do both.

And it makes it even harder to remember what people say.

Face recognition relies on the thalamus, but verbal memory relies on the prefrontal cortex, which is adversely affected during sleep deprivation.

Continued sleep deprivation can put you at risk for diabetes.

Diabetes insulin

The American Diabetes Association says that lack of sleep can increase blood sugar levels by decreasing insulin production.

It makes it easier for you to get sick and takes longer recover from being sick.

Studies show that sleep deprivation suppresses the immune system and impairs our fever response.

It can even make us less responsive to vaccines (from WebMD):

John Park, MD, a pulmonologist who specialises in sleep medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., agrees. 'We know that our immune response is suppressed when we are sleep deprived and that we develop less antibodies to certain vaccines if we are sleep-deprived,' Park says. 'It takes longer for our body to respond to immunizations, so if we are exposed to a flu virus, we may be more likely to get sick than if we are well rested when vaccinated.'

A lot of people use this to stay awake...

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