Has anybody considered the role and how important sleep plays in learning a new language? I’m not talking about learning while you sleep, but about have efficient sleep before and after you learn. Personally I feel that this is really overlooked and can really major in how much it can help or hurt our learning. There is a reason that children take naps in school. What are your thoughts?

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I don’t think there is anything special at work here. Overall I believe that language learning is like everything else: the more well-rested you are, the better you can concentrate and be more productive and efficient at the task at-hand.

Actually I do think it is pretty special. The way our brains replay what has been learned that day to strengthen the connections while we sleep is amazing. What’s even better is that however minimum they may be, there will always be some kind of distractions when we study. However, when we sleep and the brain replays it over and over, it is without distractions which helps solidify what we have learned. Of course when we don’t get enough sleep, you can see the downside to this.

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I saw a T.V show that showed a study where they made two groups of people play a video game, one group had a nap before playing it for a second time, and the other group didn’t. The nap group performed much better than the other group the next time they played the game. It was a ski course, and it appears that the group who slept had learned the course better than the group who simply took a waking break. The scientists put it down to consolidation during sleep, I guess the brain is going over the map whilst we’re unconscious and laying down stronger memories of it.

If only we all had the luxury of going to sleep immediately after an intense study period. 3 hours study followed by an hour of sleep, rinse and repeat 4 times each day… We’d be fluent within month! Haha.

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does anyone think polyphasic sleep is a good idea?

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“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise”. The more we’re regular with our sleep, the more we’re organized, making it easier to achieve our language learning goals. Now…I need to go back to bed…goodnight! :wink:

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At least a good nap

Do we have the day of obvious things today? Of cource sleep makes learning easier.


The higher quality of sleep I get, the better I perform. During military training, my quality of sleep was better because of lack of electronics and the fact I was tired all the time, but we got less of it. I still had the motivation to write in Russian during my free time. Things in modern life that are easy to get like Blue light from phones and alcohol are bad for sleep. I don’t know how the impact these have on deep sleep cycles, but anecdotally, it makes a difference for me. It definitely doesnt make the next day easier.

Honestly, you really have to be really sleep deprived to lose the motivation you had from other days to make a huge impact. Long term results? Who knows.


Important topic.

A couple of comments:

  1. Tuning in on the twilight zone. Most underrated approach to language learning imo. Tuning In On The Twilight Zone - Language Forum @ LingQ

… that was 7 years ago? … Still holds true for me now.

  1. Matthew Walker - Why we sleep.

The most persuasive argument for advanced learning by getting your sleep in order. You need to forget. Sleep. Reflect. Relearn. Learn.


I think sleep plays the biggest role in consolidating new information. I’ve often found that if I’ve spent several hours, reviewing a few pages again and again so that I learn up to 200 LingQs in that session, if I sleep after that or take a nap, I’ll be able to retain a good 90% of them. If I don’t sleep I’ll be able to retain maybe 80% of them, it does seem to make some difference in the stuff you’ll retain in the near future. Though I believe it does little to impact long-term memory…unless you are sleep deprived long-term.

Also, Paivi:
This is a forum for people that like exchanging stories and engaging with others. We aren’t worrying - we’re relating and sharing. I’m sure OP and no-one else here is losing sleep over the fact they’re losing sleep which might be hurting their language learning.

Discussing more efficient strategies isn’t procrastinating either. There are some much better ways to use LingQ and some terrible ways to use LingQ.

Drop the meathead jock mentality of just “Work hard bro! Just work hard! Just keep slamming against that wall bro!”.
You make progress in learning from working smart, not just hard. There are better ways to do things, let people discuss them.