Saturday, June 21, 2008

Learning how to rest

We all now that in order to be able to learn effectively, just as if we want to do anything effectively, we need to be alert, energised and ready to perform.

One sure fire way to damage learning before it starts is to not be well rested. Various studies show that paying attention to getting enough sleep can have a profound effect on school students' academic performance. Here are a couple: here's a pretty good article from NY Magazine, and here's a meta-study on university student performance.

But getting enough sleep at the usual time can be tricky: pressures of school, work and daily living can nibble away, or simply chomp, at our time in bed, leaving us tired, run-down and running at sub-optimal levels. The solution is to nap - we've known this for a while of course, but I still get mocked for downing tools, kicking my feet out and snoozing in the office.

The view from my closed eyelids, taking 5 before typing this entry.I usually find a quiet sofa to chill on, and set a quick 12 minute timer on my phone so I can take the edge off. It would seem I've been getting some of the best practices right too, according to this brilliant article on how to nap from the Boston Globe.

I am posting this here because not only is the information useful, but I like the simplicity of the article as a learning object. Nice graphics give it visual appeal, but they carry information too. The "timeline" in the middle is great because it evens outlines the nap-tactic to use for the right occasion.

Thanks to Merlin Mann at the excellent 43 folders for bringing this to my attention.

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