Does sleeping matter to learners?

I was reading this article on sleep coaches and performance athletes, and I thought – what about learners?

There is a lot of research on the relationship between sleep deprivation and cognitive ability. Some researchers have argued that sleep deprivation has the same effects on us as intoxication does. This is an even a bigger issue when sleep deprivation is chronic. The list of the health impacts of sleep deprivation as impressively long and scary. Fast Company has this great infographic that tells the impact of not sleeping enough.

The relationship between sleep and studying is also an important one. Studies show that sleep plays an important role in managing learning while awake, as well as improving memory and retention – which are the bulwarks of learning. In fact, sleep and grades have been shown to be directly related – the better your sleep, the better your grades.

The key problem in the workplace is that we have culture in which sleep (and resting) are largely considered weaknesses. This is particularly true in the entrepreneur/start-up and self-employed world. So much so that many progressive companies are now looking to build in rest spaces or sleep pods to encourage employees to rest and recover. This is not done out of a sense of generosity but rather that it is good business as it minimises mistakes and improves productivity.

Here are some great podcasts on sleep

  • ABC Radio – Life Matters interview with Richard Wiseman, author of Nightschool:Wake up to the power of sleep (link)
  • Freakonomics Radio: The Economics of Sleep, Part 1 (link)
  • Freakonomics Radio: The Economics of Sleep, Part 2 (link)
  • Art of Maniless Podcast: The Slumbering Masses With Matthew J. Wolf-Meyer (link)

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