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How Lack of Sleep Can Impact Your Ability to Learn a Language

  • Categories: Blog
  • 13 Apr 2018

More and more people are suffering from sleep disorders in the UK. In 2016, the National Health Service performed 147,610 diagnostic tests for sleep apnea – around double the number of tests they did from 2007 to 2008 (69,919). In a 13-country study on insomnia the UK topped the list with 37% of Brits reporting that they’re not getting enough sleep.

This is alarming because insomnia is a condition that takes its toll on the mind and body in a number of severe ways. For instance, apart from an all-day feeling of physical fatigue, a night without sleep can also do a number on the brain’s cognitive function and ability to retain memory. As a study by PubMed confirms both children and adults with sleep disorders are at a higher risk of language learning and having retention problems compared to those who slept healthily.

Without sleep, we’re a lot less able to keep focused on the task at hand, let alone stay awake while doing it. Especially if it is as complex and challenging as learning a new language. The good news is that there are plenty of methods help insomniacs to get better sleep.

Determine the Source of Your Insomnia and Eliminate It

If you know what’s keeping you awake at night, you know what you need to do to get handle or get rid of the insomnia. Is it the constant worrying about your emails or a nagging feeling that you didn’t do enough at work? Write your worries down and pledge to yourself to check them out first thing in the morning. Are you anxious about the fact that you’re finding it difficult to speak or write in a new language? Here at Hola People we offer social language learning activities that can give you more confidence about conversing in a language other than your own. Whatever’s keeping you up, identify it and find a way to handle it.

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Learn the Risks of Insomnia

We know insomnia can slow down your ability to learn new languages as it slows down cognitive function and memory retention. According to an article by Leesa, there’s even research that suggests that insomnia can promote negative and irrational thinking. These are two states of mind that disrupt the motivation to learn a new language. The more you know about the ill effects of insomnia, the less you’ll be inclined to keep scrolling down on Facebook instead of getting some much-needed sleep.

Drink Coffee Only When Necessary

Coffee’s one of the most powerful widely available stimulants. Everyone knows where to get it and how to make it, but no one knows how long it stays in the system. Dr. Ananya Mandal suggests that the average half-life of caffeine is five to six hours – it takes that long before an 80mg-caffeine cup gets reduced to just 40mg of caffeine in the body. You still retain traces of your morning coffee up until you go to sleep at night. So go easy on the coffee. We know that to many it is a crucial tool for studying, but if you drink too much it could hinder rather than help you learn. Try to drink it only when you’re actually feeling sleepy.

Choose a sturdy mattress:

Mattresses can come in a very wide range right from classic firm to plush options. You also get mechanically-operated mattresses in the UK these days. Archers Sleepcentre has a wide variety of mattresses and you can choose the best one for your needs. To decide on the perfect mattress for you, if you want one that molds itself to the shape of your body then you should go for a memory foam mattress. If you have a cool bed then go for a plush mattress as foam mattress retains back body heat.

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