How Does Getting Enough Sleep Help Learning Chinese?

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Its so strange that we have to shut off everyday. Disconnect. Lie practically motionless for 8 hours. In a way, its pretty amazing that everyone naturally fears death, but we’re fine with, even enjoy, shutting off every night. 

Its also worth considering that on the list of basic human needs, sleep is actually more important than food. Air is number one. Without oxygen, we’re not long for this world. Second is water, and third is sleep. That is to say, a good argument could be made that sleep is more important than what you eat towards health. 

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Sleep researchers will openly admit that many of the functions and phenomena of sleep are still a mystery, but in recent years there have been many discoveries that suggest that our ability to function happily in life is influenced greatly by our sleep quality. Brain function particularly is affected, which is why good sleeps relates to how well you learn, say, a language. 

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Ever been struggling with a problem, and then found that after a good night’s sleep the answer is there, even obvious? Why does this happen? Imagine your brain has RAM and hard-drive space. Throughout your day, the RAM gets more and more full, remembering unnecessary minutiae of your daily experience. Sleep essentially runs you through the process of clearing out and deleting the useless information you learned through the day, and sending the important information into the long-term memory or “hard drive”. In this analogy, how do you think having this process interrupted would impact your memory? 

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Acquiring a second language can be thought of as a process of making the previously “meaningless” information of a foreign language become meaningful, and allowing the brain to get enough of that short-term to long-term memory processing time is a huge help in making that happen. So, from now on, don’t tell yourself you are lazy for sleeping too much, because you are actually getting smarter :D.