Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Dozy learners

Scientific American has published a paper in which learning was tested comparing those who learn then 'sleep on it' overnight, compared to normal '9-5' daytime learners.

Sleepers 76%, others 32%
They forced subjects in two groups to learn a new set of word pairs 12 minutes prior to testing--the well-rested radically outperformed those who had not slept; 76 percent of sleepers accurately recalled the initial pair compared to just 32 percent of their peers who had gone without shut-eye. "Memories after sleep are resilient to disruption," the researchers conclude in the paper outlining the finding published yesterday in Current Biology.

Sleep on it
This would suggest that the timimg of most education and training is not optimal. Evening homework for school kids, evening library study for students and late night reading seem to lead to much higher levels of retention.


Anonymous said...

This study may provide some evidence backing up my own childhood habit of always doing my French vocabulary homework before having a bath, which I found far more effective than doing it at a desk.

Blimey - if I'd done it before bedtime instead, who knows what I might have accomplished!

Andy Wooler said...

Now you have discovered "z" (or is this one zzzzzzz) learning, perhaps we can all stop adding letters in front of the key word: Learning!
Most OU students will already identify with the concept of learning late at night - it certainly got me through a Masters.