Imagine you’ve just started learning something new, like how to speak Spanish. (Gotta prepare for that winter trip to Barcelona.) The best way to retain this new información is to practice, practice, practice…right? Yes, but there’s another step you shouldn’t skip: Sleep.
Weird, but a recent study published in Psychological Science confirms that repeated practice of a new skill coupled with sleep improves your long-term retention of information.
In the study, two groups learned and practiced foreign vocabulary. Half learned in the morning and night of a single day, while the other half learned in the evening, slept overnight, then relearned the next morning. Having assessed the results after one week and then six months, the study’s conductors found that sleeping between sessions “not only reduced the amount of practice needed by half but also ensured much better long-term retention.”
So no, you shouldn’t skimp on those conjugation flash cards (preterite versus imperfect can be a bitch), but you hereby have our permission to take frequent siestas, too.