Apparently, the secret to learning something new isn’t just practice—it’s sleep. Now, you might be thinking, “Well, duh.” But actually, people aren’t getting enough hours of sleep in a day: One in three adults are sleep deprived.
In a recent study published in Psychological Science, practice and more sleep increase the likelihood of long-term information retention. 40 participants were divided into two groups. The goal was to learn and practice a foreign language. One group learned vocab words in the morning as well as during the night of the same day. Another group was instructed to learn in the evening, have a good night’s sleep, and then relearn the same vocab words the next morning.
The researchers checked back with the participants after one week, and then again, after six months. They found that sleeping between learning sessions “not only reduced the amount of practice needed by half, but also ensured much better long-term retention.”
So the next time you find yourself cramming for a big project or presentation, keep in mind that calling it a night and getting enough sleep will actually help you.
Follow Ysa on Instagram.