Contrary to the belief that the sleeping is a waste of time and that staying up late at night or not sleeping at all the night before the exam will lead to better results, scientific research suggests that the need for a good night’s rest is much more important than finishing homework or studying for a test or an exam.
With the intention to take advantage of every moment, it often happens that before an important exam or test, rather than sleeping, we spend the night drinking coffee and energy drinks and studying, guided by the belief that this is a safe way to learn and strengthen your knowledge.
The remainder of this post will try to answer the following questions:
- What happens while we sleep?
- And how does sleep contribute to more effective learning?
What Happens in Our Brains While We Sleep?
Thanks to a large number of sleep process studies, we know that the different parts of the brain are actually very active while we sleep and that time spent sleeping is important to successfully function during the day.
A good night’s sleep is crucial for the ability to learn and remember, because of the formation of additional connections between neurons, because the brain repeats the activities it has dealt with during the day while we sleep.
Lack of Sleep Reduces the Ability to Focus and Study Efficiently
If you have not slept well, your ability to learn new things can be reduced up to 40%. Lack of sleep affects the hippocampus, which is key to remembering the new content.
Sleep is Required in Order to Strengthen Memory
The REM sleep phase is associated with procedural memory. According to the results of different studies, going to bed three hours after learning and one hour after exercise would be ideal.
And finally, It is worth noting that the quality, rather than quantity, is what is important when it comes to how to sleep strengthens our memory.
Make sure you are well rested before studying new material, then go to bed after you have finished reading and your brain will help you remember it while you sleep.
About the Author
Milica Madic is an English Language and Literature Student. Before returning for her Master’s degree, she was an English language educator and freelance writer.