Lack of Sleep Limits the Ability to Learn

We all know it. Lack of proper sleep affects nearly every activity we engage in, not just study.

Though we all know that lack of sleep affects our mood, energy levels, concentration, and the ability to organize thoughts, science has never been able to explain how sleep inhibits the ability to learn. The happy news is that recent studies are capable of shedding some light on the issue.

Well, to know how it happens, you show know what ‘neuroplasticity’ is, and if you are not a science student, chances are that you are not so familiar with the term. Neuroplasticity, in simple terms, means the brain’s ability to adapt to the changing environment. We are heavily dependent on this ability of our brain to learn new things.

When one enjoys normal sleep, the brain neurons have enough time to relax and the neurons’ synapses get enough time to rest and restore themselves. However, what happens when you are deprived of sleep is that the neuron synapses remain excited and active for longer than normal. This excessively long time of excited state reduces neuroplasticity, reducing the ability of the brain to learn.

Another point is the impact of sleep on memory. It has been known since long that sleep has an impact on memory, an essential part of our life. However, scientists have not yet clearly understood how that happens. One explanation is that memorizing involves three actions; acquisition, consolidation, and recall. Out of them, the acquisition means the input of new information through experience or learning. Consolidation means the acquired information is made to stick to one’s mind so that it is available for recall in the future as needed. The third action is recall, which involves accessing the stored information when needed.

Obviously, acquisition and recall are voluntary activities that happen when one is fully awake. However, the second step, that is, consolidation, requires sleep but it remains unknown how sleep helps achieve this. Two important brain areas associated with this consolidation are neocortex and hippocampus. One explanation put forward by scientists is that when one sleeps, the hippocampus replays all the events of the day it stored for the neocortex. The whole information is processed and appropriately stored by the neocortex for use in the long term. In the absence of proper sleep, this consolidation does not take place and the quality of learning is affected. Now you realize why pulling an all-nighter just before the exam is not a wise idea, and many of us have that painful experience of not being able to recall what we learned the night before, spending much time and energy.

Well, there is a long way to go to understand how sleep affects learning but the experience of students across the world over many years reveals that sleep does have an impact on learning. It affects your mood, energy levels, concentration, and the capacity to understand lessons. In addition, once learned, sleep is needed to retain the information for the long term. So, the gist best coursework writing service is, depriving yourself of sleep for the purpose of study does not benefit you.

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