Cramming Sessions are Counter Productive: Sleep & Study

'Some say sleep when you’re done, but we say sleep is second to none!'

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Sleep & Study: why cramming sessions are no good

To sleep or to study? Many students can recall having this dilemma at least once in their lives and have had mega cramming sessions. Trying to get qualified or even just learning new skills ignites a drive to absorb as much knowledge as we can in the smallest time frame possible. Some say sleep when you’re done, but we say sleep is second to none! We can’t emphasize enough how important sleep is to your studies. Let’s look into more detail about sleep & study.

Cram or spread? The truth about cramming sessions

Research & studies indicate that all that late night cramming might not have been worth it after all. Research that has focused on study time distribution and sleep patterns has provided some valuable insights. It suggests that when a student learns a lot of new material over longer periods with less sleep he/she is unable to retain the information accurately.

The research on memory has discovered that spacing out your practice time helps you learn more efficiently.  The more that you spread out your study time, the better you are likely to remember information, compared to cramming all of your studying time into one intense interval.

Further analysis on the the sleep & practice method suggests that if you study something new and then sleep afterwards, you will remember the information much better than learning it through sleep deprived cramming sessions. So spread out studying instead of having cramming sessions.

Sleep deprivation’s impact

Let’s get deeper into how a lack of sleep affects your learning performance. When sleep deprivation sets in our focus is off and our attention to detail is diminished. We are no longer receiving and storing the information coming in accurately. The inner workings of our brain are running on low power mode  and we are basically not learning. The neurons in our brain become over worked and they can’t coordinate information correctly and the simple task of recalling information already learned breaks down.

The bad news doesn’t stop with memory, it gets worse! When we are very tired we can’t read situations properly our judgment is impaired and we can’t form meaningful plans. Your mood will also suffer too. Low mood has a terrible effect on studying and learning. If your mood is bad you will not have the drive to successfully learn anything.

No more cramming sessions!

The disadvantages of cramming session are clear and you should not have to resort to them. A famous saying suits this situation very well ‘fail to plan, plan to fail’. This piece of wisdom couldn’t be more appropriate for this topic, so plan your study sessions. Break down all your material and decide which subject or module you need to tackle first in terms of importance to your exams or personal goals. Make a time table of your studies for the week broken into equal sessions with rest time penciled in afterwards. You will come to find that your memory of the materials learned will greatly improve and your ability to recall all that information extended. You can then confidently tackle your exams with ease or for your personal goals, gain assurance that you have successfully mastered new skills & acquired knowledge.

Sleep & study conclusion

To conclude remember to make sure you sleep in between study sessions, you should wake up feeling refreshed even after you have been studying. Another added benefit of a good nights sleep is that it helps to consolidate memories.  You get much more benefit out of your short study session with sleeping afterwards than sleep deprived cramming sessions. If you would like to know some great techniques to get more sleep, check out the Sleep Foundation.

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