Rest Your Brain to Learn Better

Rest Your Brain to Learn Better

Taking breaks aids in consolidating information, enhancing retention and understanding. Subconscious processing during breaks improves memory and problem-solving. Rest Your Brain is a pivotal aspect in maximizing learning potential and cognitive function.

                Researchers shed light on this important cognitive hack by examining the brain waves behind skill learning.  Most successful learning occurred during brain rest periods, even while awake or after sleeping, surprising researchers.

                Healthy adults were tasked with learning a short number sequence with their non-dominant hand on a keyboard. Researchers devised a study to observe the learning process. Participants viewed the sequence and typed it repeatedly for ten seconds, followed by a ten-second break, over thirty-five cycles. This process continued as they learned and retained the sequence.

                During practice, participants’ typing speed improved, but brain activity peaked during the rest periods, not while typing. To distill the results even further, the researchers at NIH constructed a computer program that could break down the brain wave activity associated with each different number of the sequence.

Memory During Rest

                They found that the brains were replaying the sequence up to three times as quickly as the participants could physically type it, while the brains were at rest!  The biggest memory benefits were made in the brains of the participants who replayed it the most; but the participants were not consciously asking their brains to replay what they had learned.  The involuntary brain processes were occurring in the background during the rest periods, unbeknownst to the participants.

                To get the most out of the time you spend trying to master a new skill or strengthen an old one, remember that your brain is doing most of the heavy lifting for you.  Adopting a more measured approach to learning rather than trying to cram all night is the best way to get the most out of your memory and boost your productivity!

Further Reading

Ethan R. Buch, Leonardo Claudino, Romain Quentin et al. Consolidation of human skill linked to waking hippocampo-neocortical replay. Cell Reports, 2021; 35 (10): 109193

Also read our blog on 10 Nutrition Principles To Follow and Live By Each Day

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