Yes, not getting enough sleep affects your learning ability

Sydney Hoose, Staff Writer

As a student, do you ever wonder how sleep affects your ability to learn? It turns out the amount of sleep you get every night before school has a significant effect on your ability to retain information. There’s a good reason why many people enjoy sleep.

Sleep is the brain’s way of recharging and healing itself. It is also the time period in which the information that you learned during the day is retained, or stored. Specifically the memory and learning retainment process happens during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. This is the last stage of sleep, and it’s the stage where dreams occur. The REM period occurs every 90 minutes after the first three stages. The sleep cycle repeats depending on how many hours of sleep you get.

If the brain is deprived of the proper time to heal, there can be problems the next day, such as feeling tired or being unable to focus. Depending on the person’s brain chemistry, different people need different amounts of sleep. Some people can function on two to four hours of sleep, while others need at least nine.

Webmd.com states, “During sleep, while your body rests, your brain is busy processing information from the day and forming memories. If you are sleep deprived, you are at risk of developing a number of serious health problems, such as hypertension, obesity, and diabetes, and your ability to learn and retain new information may be impaired.”

According to a 2006 National Sleep Foundation poll, the organization’s most recent survey of teen sleep, more than 87 percent of high school students in the United States get far less than the recommended eight to 10 hours, and the amount of time they sleep is decreasing — a serious threat to their health, safety and academic success,” Ruthann Richter on med.stanford.edu wrote.

Especially since final exams are approaching, students need to get plenty of rest. The recommended amount of sleep for children and teens is 8-10 hours per night. Studying during the day and making it to bed by 9:00 or 10:00 PM is a student’s best bet for retaining the information they are reading.

If you have trouble sleeping, try being more active during the day instead of laying around after school. Getting homework done as soon as possible instead of cramming at midnight is much better for your mental health. Keep your bedroom dark when you’re trying to fall asleep. If you still can’t sleep, try drinking warm tea or reading, drawing, or listening to calming music. Stay away from screens that emit blue light because they will keep you awake and damage your eyes.

Whether you are a night owl or an early bird, sleep is very important for your learning abilities. Having eight to nine hours of sleep every night is essential for your brain’s memory processing functions.