What Pulling An All-Nighter Does To Your Body

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Photo: seatbelt47 via flickr

Especially in your early years as an analyst, all Wall Streeters can expect to pull all-nighters.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.

Either way, time is of the essence, you have to finish a task ASAP, and 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.

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

It makes you hungrier and fatter.

There are two opposing hormones in your body that regulate your appetite -- leptin and ghrelin. In individuals who lack sleep, the body produces less leptin and more ghrelin which makes you hungrier.

Scientists from Stanford and the University of Wisconsin noticed that after one night of little to no sleep, a person's body mass index increases.

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.

It makes it harder for you to remember a face.

Sleep deprivation adversely affects a part of your brain called the thalamus which, along with the medial temporal lobes, regulates your ability to recognise others.

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.

According to a UC Berkeley study, sleep deprivation boosts the parts of your brain that are associated with depression and cause you to overreact to negative experiences. It also hampers the prefrontal lobe (as you know) which helps to regulate emotion.

Continued sleep deprivation can put you at risk for diabetes.

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.

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

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