The Science Of Sleep
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Let’s talk about sleep.
Sleep is important and I know what you’re thinking.
Oh boy you’re not really learning anything new.
You already know that sleep is important.
Why am I watching a course to tell me that sleep is important.
Well I want to talk a little bit about the science of sleep because yes sleep is important but some
people actually underestimate how important sleep is to be an efficient learner.
As a matter of fact if you’re not sleeping well you’re automatically at a disadvantage compared to everybody
else that sleeps well.
For example I remember when I went to university my very first test was a math test and I thought I
would do what most people do.
Well pull an all nighter.
Wait until the very last day to study for a test and then just don’t sleep a night.
Study all night.
And then in the morning go take the test.
Guess how all that went.
Well my very first university exam got me a great score of 10 percent.
Not very good is it.
It was horrible.
And although I could have been better prepared for the exam the big reason that I wasn’t able to do
well on the test was that I didn’t really sleep.
My brain was tired and as soon as I got the first exam question I just couldn’t think straight.
And staying up all night to study for a test is the worst strategy you could ever have for long term
Yes maybe you learn a few facts here and there.
But long term what I learned that night is definitely not in my brain any more for long term learning
lack of sleep is just a horrible strategy.
Here’s an interesting study of why sleep matters so much.
You see being awake creates toxic products in our brain.
And this is a recent discovery.
When you sleep your brain cells actually shrink and fluids flow through these gaps and they clear these
toxins for you.
So sleep is actually our brains way of flushing out unwanted things in the brain.
And this study was able to show that the flow of what we call cerebral spinal fluid in your brain increases
when you sleep and it flushes away these toxins that build up between your brain cells during the day.
Now the only reason that this can happen at night is that it’s a very energy intensive process.
So you need to have the rest of your body shut down in order for it to work.
As we learned in the previous lecture sleep also accounts as the diffuse mode of thinking when we sleep.
It allows the brain to organize things you racing the less important things and making the important
things or have more connections with different parts of our brain.
And as Matthew Walker describes in his book Why We sleep sleep allows us sometimes to come up with new
and novel solutions.
You might have encountered times where you’re trying to solve a problem you’re trying to be focused
on the problem and you can’t solve it.
So instead you go on with your day you go to sleep and then the next day when you tackle that problem
the solution comes to you immediately.
This is our brain working and helping us out while we sleep.
Now obviously you can’t sleep all day to be an efficient learner.
You also need the focus mode in order to learn something.
But sleeping is an important part where too much is not good but too little is bad as well.
Dreaming about things that you’re studying actually improves your memory because your brain is working.
The idea is that of balance.
Don’t sleep too much.
Don’t sleep too little later on when we talk about short term and long term memory those all nighters
you pull are the easiest way for us to not retain any information.
So when you have a choice between sleeping or not sleeping before an exam will definitely pick sleep
your brain will be in a better state for problem solving and learning.
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