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26 July 2017

Well-rested bright, young minds

It’s almost back to school time. After several weeks of holiday, with plenty of sun, good food, and a lot of R&R, we start to memorise and retain knowledge again with renewed determination so we can apply it during the exams. Sleep plays a crucial role in this process!

A good night’s sleep for better marks

Sleep plays a vital role in your academic performance. After a good night’s sleep, you will feel sharp and alert when learning new things. You will also recall what you learnt for a longer period of time and ultimately be able to remember it.  

Research conducted last year by the Dutch Foundation for Sleep-Wake Research among 1,400 students demonstrated that:
Students who indicated they felt well-rested scored up to one point higher than their fellow students who did not feel refreshed in the morning.

    Tips for sleeping well and better memory

    Doctor Lucia Talamini of the University of Amsterdam conducts research into the effects of sleep on our memory.

    Study: A group of Dutch people was asked to learn 120 Danish words during the day. These words were repeated to them at night while they were asleep.  In one half of the group, this was done during the so-called “slow oscillation up-states”. This is just another difficult word for a stage of sleep, which scientists suspect specifically contributes to remembering the knowledge you acquired. In the other half of the group, the Danish words were also repeated, but not during this stage of sleep. 
    Result: There is evidence that the “slow oscillation up-state” stage of sleep effectively contributes to the memorisation of new knowledge.  In short, any new knowledge you learnt can only be properly memorised if you sleep well. 

    While it is difficult to mimic this situation at home, Lucia has a few tips to ensure you can better retain what you are studying.

    • Focus on the things you want to study during the day and don’t allow yourself to be distracted too much.
    • Go back over this again before going to sleep at night.
    • And then make sure you get enough sleep.