Sleep and learning. How to use sleep to improve learning ?

Sleep and learning. How to use sleep to improve learning ?

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Hello English speakers who want to Learn French 🙂 !

In this article I share with you How to use sleep to improve learning ?

Accelerate the process of integration and consolidation of new information, in a network of knowledge already present in the neo-cortex.
By using memory reactivation of specific information learned recently, it is shown that, if this information can be associated with already existing knowledge, this is essential for a good reactivation and consolidation of this newly learned information. This during sleep.

Consolidation of the memory system refers to a long-term process whereby a newly encoded hippocampal memory is permanently stored in the neo-cortex. This process is accelerated when, in the neo-cortex, there are networks of knowledge to which newly acquired information can be incorporated.

The study (sleep and learning)

The participants memorized associations between pseudo-words (eg. Wiemel) and images showing familiar objects (eg. watering can → stimuli related to prior knowledge) or new objects (stimuli not related to prior knowledge).

During the evening the participants will experience the memorization of the association between pseudo-words (presented audibly) and known images ("PriorKnow condition") and unknown ("NoProiKnow condition"). Half of the words in the 2 conditions are presented again (via speakers) during sleep (after learning) (during the N2 and N3 stages of sleep (NonREM)), to induce the reactivation of the associated information (pseudo-word + image). The morning following this night, we carry out the recall session, for all image-word associations, with cue (we show the image) and the participant must say the pseudo-word.

During the learning phase (evening)

  • Performance is significantly higher for stimuli associated with "PriorKnow" versus
  • Presented the words again during sleep significantly promote the reminder
    associations in the morning.
  • For the "PriorKNow" condition. The reminder is better when the words are presented
    again during sleep versus those who are not introduced again.

My experience

Sleep 5-10 minutes while learning. You can repeat it.

When I was a student in psychology, I had to retain a lot (too much) information to pass my exams, it was obviously impossible to remember all, and by dint of working the fatigue was coming. To manage my fatigue and make sure I keep as much information as possible without having the brain that is heating up, I took very small breaks of 5-10 minutes to rest my brain and allow it to record the information and maximize my chances to pass my exams.

It works 🙂 ! It allows you to work longer while respecting the pace of the brain that needs rest to function properly.

Example with language learning

  • Learn words or phrases before going to bed, save them, either :
    -Falling asleep with headphones in your ears
    -When I get up at night I broadcast the recording and I go back to sleep
    In this way I reactivate the newly learned information more effectively than if I did not listen to it overnight.
  • Learn words that belong to a lexical field I already know !
    Memory works by association !
    In this way you will retain better the new information. In addition to this, apply the "sleep method" to strengthen neuronal connections and thus promote the retention of information.
    Example : you already know words from the lexical field of ski, so it is better to learn new words from this specific lexical field. Ski (ski), montagne (mountain), neige (snow), le sommet de la montagne (the top of the mountain),...
  • Sleep 5-10 minutes while learning a language
    Example : today, after my day at university or after my day's work I go home tired, but I still decide to continue studying French. I lie down 5-10 minutes before starting to study, I pause. So, I feel better and I am more efficient at learning new information or reviewing it.

Here is the reference of the article

Groch, S., Schreiner, T., Rasch, B., Huber, R., & Wilhelm, I. (2017). Prior knowledge is essential for the beneficial effect of targeted memory reactivation during sleep. Scientific reports, 7, 39763.

To go further have a look at the video The Importance of Sleep in Learning.

Thanks for reading this article 🙂

What do you want to learn about the French language? What are your needs ?

Tell me in the comments, I will write an article about it !

Thank you 🙂

Thomas Ricomard

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