The Association for Physiological Science recently published a paper that shows that alternating sleeping and study sessions help you learn better and ace your exams. These sleep breaks will help in retention of information and is more effective that lengthy, continuous study sessions without rest.
Previous research in this area has already suggested that resting after studying accounts for better long-term memory for a student. The objective of this new study was to figure out whether sleeping between two study sessions can further improve memory or it just makes you lousy.
In this study, 40 French students were divided into two groups. Students from both groups had identical learning sessions. They were each given 16 pair words in French as well as their Swahili translations. Every word pair was first displayed in both French and Swahili side-by-side for 7 seconds after which the French words would disappear and participants were required to type in the correct French translation. For wrong answer, the correct translation would again appear for 4 seconds. This continued till the participant correctly translated all Swahili words to French.
The next session was scheduled after 12 hours. One group was asked to sleep between the sessions while the other was asked to stay awake. During the second session, it was discovered that the group that slept, on average, correctly translated 10/ 16 pairs of words while the average score for the group that stayed awake was 7.5 words.
Stephanie Mazza, a psychologist working at the University of Lyon says that the participants who slept were able to recall memories that were not that accessible previously. Sleep seemed to have transformed their ability to relearn and allowed the group to re-code the data in their memory faster and take less time in learning during the second exercise.
This learning technique has long-term benefits for the students. It enables the individuals to learns faster and retain longer. This means that next time you have an exam coming up, divide your preparation between alternating sleeping and studying sessions. Have you ever tried it before? Does this technique help you learn better? Let us know!