by Daniel

posted on May 15, 2016.

Let it sink

A lot of the learning process goes on in the back of our heads. Actually, some scientist have even proposed that to be the main driver of sleep and dreaming is to let those ideas and connections strengthen! We don’t have to go that far, but research shows that a good night’s sleep will make you perform better, remember better, and retain better your skill. So better get a good night’s sleep!

A good night's #sleep will make you #perform better, #remember better, and #retain better your skill! #learning Click To Tweet

But resting doesn’t only apply to sleeping: you should also make sure you take breaks every now and then! A lot of health and ergonomics institution recommend at least a 5 minute pause every hour, some even recommending to stop every half an hour more or less. One way of checking this is: if you are starting to wonder about other stuff not related to your practice or learning, it might be time for a coffee, a walk, or to change what you’re doing.

Piro our cat, napping

Meet our kitty Piro. Based on the amount of naps, he’s learning how to conquer the world!

It might also boost your learning to take naps in-between learning sessions. I wish my university would have had napping areas when I was studying (or when I was working there), we even have research that supports the value of a well-timed nap!

If you’re learning something intellectual, that requires you to properly grasp complicated concepts, reading about those concepts just before going to sleep can prove very useful. Your mind will be working on in while you sleep, creating the right connections. You’ll wake up a little bit wiser! Disclaimer: it’s not that often that you can notice that you actually are wiser, but on the long run you will most likely notice an effect.

One last remark: make sure you properly acknowledge resting time. If you’re reading texts on the computer, and your resting time is logging into Facebook, you’re not really giving your body or brain much of a change. You’re doing a similar thing, but trying to convince your brains that you’re doing it for leisure.

If that’s your case…

Step out for a #walk, lean back in the sofa to #listen to #music, or go out for a #jog. Click To Tweet

In particular, for intelectual skills, doing some physical exercise like jogging or gymnastics can get you to properly disconnect from the practice, so that you’re really fresh when you step back.

Once we know what to practice, how, and when to rest, it’s time to look again at the bigger picture and give it all a purpose (next section >>).

This post is part of the “Hack how to learn a skill” series. Click here to go to the table of contents, or here to go to the previous section (<< previous section).


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