Science News

Not Getting Enough Sleep Makes Learning Harder

Sun, 3rd Mar 2002

Part of the show How the nose works, what is a smell, and how is smell important for sexual attraction

I wonder how many listeners have (like myself) passed exams just by cramming the night before? We've got bad news for you - the best way to learn new things is to get plenty of sleep! Researchers studied a group of people who were learning how to type. They found that typing skills increased by 20% after the first's nights sleep! But people who skipped the first nights sleep had virtually forgotten everything by the next day and had to learn all over again! You might think the ones who missed a nights sleep were simply too tired to type the next day. But there's more too it than that . Apparently our brains are busy practising what we've learned even while we're dreaming! Researchers have shown that animals learn in their sleep too - birds rehearse new tunes and rats practice running!

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