The Wake-up Call: The importance of sleep when learning English

To learn a language, there are a few important details that pop into our heads straight away. We need to practice, we need repetition, songs and rhymes are a great method, and learning with a tutor makes the process of learning a lot faster and smoother. One thing we tend to forget is that learning also requires you to take care of yourself. Sleep. Eat. Learn. Repeat. In this blog, we’ll learn about how sleep in particular will help you more than you know. 

We all need sleep. Some more than others, and we tend to read about the importance of sleep a lot. Sleep helps us survive and work on our subconscious issues throughout the night. If we don’t get enough sleep, we just don’t feel right the next day. But why is sleep so important for learning? In particular, for language learning?

REM Sleep: What is it? 

When you sleep, you may believe nothing is happening. During sleep, though, certain regions of your brain are very active. And getting enough sleep (or not getting enough) has an impact on your physical and emotional wellbeing. Your body has a chance to recover and restore energy when you sleep. A good night’s sleep can aid in stress management, problem-solving, and recovery from sickness. Sleep deprivation can result in a variety of physical issues, as well as a change in how you think and feel.

You alternate between non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep throughout the night. During each of these phases, your brain and body behave differently.

When you enter REM sleep, your brain activity spikes again, indicating that your sleep isn’t as profound. The levels of activity are similar to when you’re awake. As a result, REM sleep is when you’ll get the most vivid dreams.

REM sleep usually occurs approximately an hour and a half after you fall asleep. The initial 10 minutes of REM sleep lasts roughly 10 minutes. Each subsequent REM stage lasts longer and longer.

cat sleeping

Benefits to Sleep when Learning English

Learning a new language is difficult, even more so when your mother tongue is not derived from the same language. For example, Spanish speakers and German speakers will find it easier to learn English than Arabic speakers or Mandarin speakers. Because the alphabet and general sentence structures are completely different, when learning the English language, you’ll have to depend on your memory to pick up the slack.

Sleep, learning, and memory are all complicated processes that we don’t fully comprehend. Animal and human research, on the other hand, reveal that sleep amount and quality have a significant impact on learning and memory. Sleep appears to aid learning and memory in two ways, according to research. To begin with, a person who is sleep deprived is unable to focus their attention optimally and so is unable to learn effectively. Second, sleep contributes to memory consolidation, which is necessary for learning new information.

Learning and memory are frequently defined in terms of three functions, despite the fact that the specific mechanisms are unknown. The entrance of new information into the brain is referred to as acquisition. The procedures by which a memory becomes stable are referred to as consolidation. After knowledge has been stored, recall refers to the ability to access it (consciously or unconsciously).

For proper memory function, each of these processes is required. Memory consolidation occurs during sleep by strengthening the brain connections that constitute our memories, according to a study. Memory acquisition and recall occur exclusively during waking. Although there is no consensus on how sleep facilitates this process, several studies believe that certain features of brainwaves during certain stages of sleep are linked to the establishment of distinct types of memory.

Naps while studying

Techniques to Help Improve your Sleep

  1. Stick to a sleep schedule

Allow for a maximum of eight hours of sleep. A healthy adult should get at least seven hours of sleep per night. To attain this goal, most people don’t need more than eight hours in bed.

Leave your bedroom and do something soothing if you don’t fall asleep within 20 minutes. Relax by reading or listening to peaceful music. When you’re exhausted, go back to bed. As needed, repeat the process.

  1. Pay attention to what you eat and drink

Make sure you’re not hungry or stuffed before going to bed. Avoid eating anything heavy or substantial within a couple of hours of going to bed. It’s possible that your discomfort will keep you awake.

Nicotine, coffee, and alcohol should all be avoided. Nicotine and caffeine’s stimulating effects take hours to wear off and can disrupt sleep quality. Even though alcohol makes you tired at first, it can disturb sleep later in the night.

  1. Create a restful environment

Make a sleeping-friendly environment. This usually entails something cool, dark, and silent. It may be more difficult to fall asleep if you are exposed to light. Before going to bed, avoid using light-emitting screens for an extended period of time. To create a setting that meets your needs, consider utilizing room-darkening shades, earplugs, a fan, or other gadgets.

Before night, try relaxing activities like taking a bath or utilizing relaxation techniques to help you sleep better.

  1. Limit daytime naps

Long naps during the day can disrupt nocturnal sleep. If you must nap, keep it to 30 minutes or less and avoid napping late in the day.

If you work nights, you may need to take a nap late in the day before work to make up for lost sleep.

  1. Include physical activity in your daily routine

Regular physical activity can help you sleep better. However, avoid being active too close to nighttime.

Spending time outside every day could also be beneficial.

  1. Manage worries

Before going to bed, try to put your anxieties and concerns to rest. Make a mental note of what’s on your mind and set it aside for tomorrow.

Stress management may be beneficial. Begin with the fundamentals, such as being organized, prioritizing, and delegating chores. Meditation can also help with anxiety.

man yawning

A Note From Everywhere English

We hope that you learned a little today about how important sleep is when learning a new language. Our English teachers are here to help and if you feel that your teacher’s open times are not suiting your needs, please let us know. You may have a baby in the house or you may be working night shifts. Whatever the reason, just pop us a message and we’ll be happy to accommodate your schedule. 

Happy Learning!


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