Pulling All-Nighters is Pointless!

Pointless to Pull an All-nighter

What happens when you sleep?

REM Sleep, Dreams, and the Circadian Rhythm: The most vivid and memorable dreams take place during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.

During REM sleep, eye movements resemble what the sleeper is looking at in the dream, while the rest of the body is paralyzed at the brain stem. If we were to look at someone eyes in REM cycle, his/her eyes would be moving from left to right as if they are looking at someone.

The sleep and dream cycle varies between, person to person but the majority of “healthy” individuals exhibits a consistent pattern illustrated by the graphs below. The Circadian Rhythm is a 24-hour cycle the human body goes through each day.


According to US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health the two factors that affect memory retention are how much of your time asleep is spent in REM.

We organically sleep in periods/cycles of deep sleep and “shallow” sleep, with each round being ended by a period of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) for about 20 minutes. The greater the number of REMs we have a night, the more well rested we are the next day and the better perform and have processed our short-term memory into long-term.

REM cycles are about 1h30 (90 minutes), which is the reason it is best to sleep in multiples of 90 minutes. 7.5-8 hours will be 5 REM cycles.

If we only sleep 6 hours, that’s 4 REM cycles. We’ve lost 20% of the memory and restoration of our sleep.

It only gets worse at 4.5 hours, or 3 REM cycles, where we’re only getting 40% of the memory processing time. Ouch!


It’s very easy to waste a day of work or study by not getting enough sleep. Conclusion, spending a whole night studying for a big presentation and trying to cram information is pointless if we only get three to fours hours of sleep. 

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