Pulling an all-nighter is a rite of passage for many college students, but it might be a ritual worth rethinking. New research from the National Sleep Foundation shows that too little sleep makes us much less effective at our tasks. Not only that, the study revealed we’re aware of this fact, yet only 1 in 10 of us make sleep a top priority.
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This piqued our interest at Course Hero, so we decided to analyze our user data to smoke out which students are most likely to study into the wee hours—and presumably not get as much sleep as they should. We looked at school-specific traffic data on the Course Hero platform between midnight and 5 a.m. and then compared it to overall traffic for each school. Here’s what we found:
- Harvard University tops the night owl list by a long shot. Students at Harvard log 19% of their total study hours between midnight and 5 a.m.
- The rate jumps up from midnight to 1 a.m. Harvard is one of just a handful of schools whose rates rise after midnight. (Also in that category: University of Notre Dame and New York University.)
- The top 5 burn-the-midnight-oil schools, according to our data, were Harvard, Notre Dame, New York University, St. John’s University, and University of Maryland. Each logged more than 12% of total study hours between midnight and 5 a.m.
- Most students finish up their studies by 3 a.m. Just 0.5% are cracking the books between 3 and 5 a.m. Even among all of our top 20 late-hours schools, just 2.5% of students are studying during that window of time.
Another notable finding: Students in the University of California system are much more likely to study in the early morning hours compared to all others. Among our top 20, 4 schools are UC schools: Berkeley, Los Angeles, Irvine, and Davis. And to make matters even more interesting, students at those schools keep study hours that mirror one another (note they number 13–16 in our rankings).
Sleepless in … Massachusetts
We also rolled up all the data by state, looking at students across each state to identify patterns. We found that college students in Massachusetts are much more likely to stay awake studying from midnight to 5 a.m. than students from other states. The states least likely to stay awake during the early hours: Missouri (2%), Utah (2%), Washington (2%), North Carolina (1%).
Below are the top 20 schools in our Night Owl U ranking. If you would like to receive more data-inspired content like this, follow us on Facebook or Twitter!
|Rank||College||Portion of Study Midnight to 5 a.m.|
|2||University of Notre Dame||14.8%|
|3||New York University||14.0%|
|4||St. John’s University||12.8%|
|5||University of Maryland||12.1%|
|6||University of Texas||11.3%|
|7||Georgia Institute of Technology||11.1%|
|8||SUNY Stony Brook||11.0%|
|9||University of Michigan||11.0%|
|10||University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign||10.5%|
|11||University of Texas, Dallas||10.4%|
|12||Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University||10.3%|
|13||University of California, Berkeley||10.2%|
|14||University of California, Los Angeles||10.1%|
|15||University of California, Irvine||10.0%|
|16||University of California, Davis||10.0%|
|18||Michigan State University||9.8%|
|20||Baruch College, CUNY||9.7%|
We analyzed traffic among students using Course Hero during the months that schools were in session during 2018. We limited our study to a random sample of public and private colleges and universities, including community colleges—though the schools we selected had to have a strong presence on Course Hero. We did not include any data from online universities or any university with a presence in multiple time zones.
For more information, contact:
Grayling PR for Course Hero