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