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Harvard Study: It's perfectly fine to stay up late and sleep in as long as you do this

Harvard Study: It's perfectly fine to stay up late and sleep in as long as you do this

After a hard day’s work, you collapse on the sofa for an hour, then try to drag yourself up to make your much-deserved dinner before attempting to go to bed; because the earlier you go, the earlier you get up, the happier and healthier you will be, right? If so, the world should be heavily filled with “morning people” who would dally about their day as they skip through the sunlight and trot magnanimously to work. Yes, we don’t quite see that, do we? 


And in fact, we don’t need to because sleeping and waking “early” may not be so crucial to our health and happiness after all!

A study from Harvard had examined the sleep habits of 61 students over a month in conjunction with their grades. From their study, it was found that individuals who had a regular sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up around the same time consistently performed better than those who had irregular sleeping hours. Thus, what can we conclude from the study?

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  1. Forget waking up at 5 a.m!

The study found that students performed much better if they slept during nighttime hours defined as 10 pm to 10 am. That’s quite a big window of time, don’t you think so? Imagine, if you normally go to bed at 2 and then wake up at 9, you would function just as fine provided that you sleep and get up at the same time each day!


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  1. If you sleep irregular hours, it won’t help much even if you get “enough” sleep

From the study, the researchers found that surprisingly, the “irregular hour” and “regular hour” sleepers tend to sleep about the same number of hours in total. This is because the irregular sleepers nap during the day which adds up to their shut-eye time. However, despite adequate amounts of sleep, the “irregular hour” sleepers still tend to achieve lower grades which indicates that frequent naps do not replace the benefits that a good night’s sleep brings.

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  1. Sleeping irregular hours can worrying make you fat

Irregular sleepers tend to have delayed circadian rhythms in comparison to regular sleepers. In turn, it can result in weight gain. Don’t exchange that beauty sleep for some extra meat on the waist!

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  1. Irregular sleep may be a symptom of another condition

Now, the study did not measure the causes of irregular sleeping, and how they may affect academic performance. Nonetheless, it should be noted that irregular sleep can be a symptom of conditions such as depression. In the same vein, depression can also contribute to a decline in academic performance. As such, if you notice that your irregular sleeping has nothing to do with any particular reason, you may want to have a chat with a professional to find the cause, be it benign or ominous.

I just can’t rise early. Is that bad?

Not at all! Provided that you ensure that you have a good sleeping routine. Sleep is as pertinent to our body, health, and mind as food and water. You do need it, and low-quality sleep that is chopped up in pieces of 20-minute naps each is not going to cut it. Thus, it would be best to make a habit of sleeping and waking up at the same time while being careful that you aren’t shaving off your shut-eye time too much!

Did you find our article to be useful? Have a look at the other articles that elucidate other pearls of wisdom!


The President and Fellows of Harvard College. (2021). The Nutrition Source. Retrieved from 

Zetlin, Minda. (2021). Harvard Study Says It's OK to Stay Up Late and Sleep In (so Long as You Do This). Retrieved from

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