Insomnia competition poses health risks


With St. Paddy’s Day on Monday and the official start of spring on Thursday (although it doesn’t always feel that way), it can be easy to dismiss projects and papers looming in the near future. They aren’t due yet, so it often seems like there is no reason to ignore that call to hang out. But before you know it, those overwhelming projects will be due. Chances are, many people will be working on them the night before they’re due.

We’ve all been there (with our vice of choice). You stay up all night right before the project is due. Whenever you accomplish a part of the project, you take a break. After all, you deserve it, right? But pretty soon, you’ll look over, your phone will read 3 a.m. and you’ll realize that you still have one more part to finish, and you have class in six hours. When you roll out of bed the next day with your less-than-perfect project, you and your classmates discuss how late each of you had to stay up to finish them, making it into a sort of contest to see who had the least amount of sleep.

This idea of making sleepless nights into a competition is one that is sweeping college campuses across the United States. A recent Bustle article addressed that many students, especially at Ivy League universities, try to one-up one another and claim that those who have insomnia are lucky to have the ability to stay up and work on projects without having to be constantly refueled by energy drinks like Red Bull and Monster.

Sometimes, it is not always the person’s fault for waiting. Between other commitments, like having a job, internship or both, it can be hard to devote enough time to working ahead. Additionally, family problems, roommate problems or illnesses (mental or physical) can deter students from working on academic work not due in the immediate future. This Editorial Board also realizes that some students simply underestimate the amount of time a particular project will take them. It may look easy on paper, so they put it off, only to discover all of the little parts that make it more challenging and thus, more time-consuming.

Although the idea of “competing” with classmates to determine who had the least amount of sleep may be tempting, think about the fact that turning in a project completed four hours prior will not be your best work. You’ll feel sluggish the entire day, and as a result, you will feel less motivated to work on other projects and homework in advance. It is a cycle that needs to be broken in order to remain healthy and earn good grades.

Insomnia is a disorder as well as a symptom of other disorders, so anyone wishing to have it needs to reassess their own time-management skills. Those who fight the battle with insomnia would typically argue that it is not a blessing to have, and they would love to be able to sleep through the night.

Individuals who regularly lack shut-eye are at risk for other health problems in the future, including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, headaches and depression, according to WebMD. Too little sleep could even result in an earlier death for some people.

It can be tempting to wait to work on projects, but overall, it is not worth it — not in the long run or even in the short run. It can be dangerous, so students should try to implement ways to avoid procrastination. If social media and other websites are distracting, there are ways to block those on computers by downloading apps such as SelfControl. Making a list to determine priorities can also be helpful for some. If students will actually work on their projects, it can even be beneficial to work near their friends because they can help hold each other accountable. Even when students have the best intentions; however, they will often slip up and procrastinate on a project or two.  It is essential to take short breaks in order to be more productive.

This sleeplessness competition is one that is not worth winning.

One Response

  1. Therapist60

    Getting enough sleep is very important. I see many psychotherapy clients with insomnia or who have unhealthy sleep patterns. Some people just have so much on their minds or so much stress that they cannot relax enough to sleep. I usually recommend to my clients that they work with some sort of sleep/relaxation program. The one I usually recommend they work with is at Sometimes it takes a few days for a program like this to work but it seems to work for most of the clients I have recommended it to.

    Lack of proper sleep can cause or lead to many physical and psychological ailments. It is a very important issue that is all too often ignored.


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