Why Sleep Is Important For Effective Learning

Sleep is a period when the body's conscious processes are suspended and the brain's activity is at its lowest.

Learning never stops, from the moment we're born to the second we die, we are learning new things. As a child grows, so does the knowledge he or she possesses. This knowledge is either accessed consciously or subconsciously and it forms a part of the child's persona. It includes formal education (from schools of different levels) to informal education ( from family and the immediate environment).

This information is hunted for, processed and stored by the growing mind for use later in life. Things like reflexes, mannerisms, language, etc. all fall within this category. Another is information gotten from school.

A school is a place dedicated to imparting knowledge to children and adults alike. The serenity and carefully engineered ambience are such that learning is easier within the four walls of a school. It is important to note that a school isn't confined to a building or a particular location but can be anywhere and at any time.

At different ages or levels of development, children are put in classes to match their growing ability. Within the period dedicated to each class or level, the child is exposed to a huge amount of information that, according to the syllabus of the institution, is important. Sometimes remembering this information proves a challenge. Tools like mnemonics, rhymes and the like are employed by teachers and parents to help lessen the challenge. While factors such as intelligence quotient, learning disabilities, learning style, etc. can slow or affect the process.

Another important factor that may impair learning is sleep.

Sleep is a period when the body's conscious processes are suspended and the brain's activity is at its lowest. This period lasting from minutes to hours is a vital process to body metabolism. It is also vital to the addition of new information to the brain, permanently storing the information and when needed recollection of the memory.


The neurons of the brain that control both formations of new memories and recollection of old ones need rest. While awake, these neurons fire continuously collecting information and storing it in the brain. During sleep, however, the amount of information the neurons process reduces to its lowest and parts of the brain shut down, allowing the neurons to rest.

Memories are moved from temporary to permanent recall during sleep, allowing it to sink into the subconscious. Children who study during the day and sleep properly have much better memories of information studied compared to those who do not rest properly.

Also, Sleeping at least 8 hours at night allows for better focus, longer attention span, increased analytical ability and a faster recollection of previously learnt subjects. This means a well-rested brain makes for a better student.

Sleep deprivation can lead to fatigue, memory loss, unstable emotions, impaired judgement and in some cases, hallucinations.

Often, Excessive sleeping can be perceived as laziness or a sign of illness but to be a successful student or to be able to learn effectively, your brain needs to rest.

So don't be afraid to catch a few hours of sleep when you're tired. Think of it as the whetstone to sharpen the brain before the study, if it makes it easier. Winks

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