In my on-going quest on sleeping references, there is a great article called Good sleep, good learning, good life on sleeping and how does it relate to learning or creative achievements. First it talks about sleep deprivation in our modern society, then it follows on talking about functions of sleep, and insomnia. Finally it talks about some sleeping related intakes such as alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes. I like the section where Dr. Piotr Wozniak talks about alarm clock:

… Few upwardly mobile people in the modern rat-race society can live without an alarm clock. Increasingly, time becomes the most precious commodity in society where achievement is often associated with speed and perfect time-management. However, alarm clocks introduce two harmful side effects: stress and sleep deprivation.

The art of time-management makes it possible to live at high speed with the alarm clock on your side and actually be free from stress. However, the societal damage inflicted by alarm clocks used to regulate sleep is unforgivable. An alarm clock that interrupts your sleep damages your memory, your ability to learn, your mood and temper, your relationships with other people, your ability to focus and your overall intellectual performance!

Dr Robert Stickgold has showed that people who learn a skill during the day, do not show significant improvement until they get a sound 7-8 hours of properly structured sleep. There was a noticeable correlation between the degree of improvement and the quantity of sleep received. Forgetting is so painless that we rarely notice its effects. In a natural way, forgetting will proceed even if you get as much sleep as you need, and it is difficult to point to specific memories lost as a result of not sleeping enough. Moreover, sleep deprivation may leave your memories intact while their storage will be sub-optimum. The difference may be impossible to spot without measurement. We are more likely to notice sleepiness, reduced mental agility or bad mood. Yet societal respect for sleep is dismal (esp. in America and other highly industrialized nations)…

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Good sleep, good learning, good life – [SuperMemo]

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