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A Scientifically Proven Technique That Can Make Your Learning 50% Easier

A Scientifically Proven Technique That Can Make Your Learning 50% Easier

Like or not, to become successful in many areas of life, whether it be in school, college, at work or just in learning a new hobby or skill, you need to master the art of retaining new information. Say you have an important test coming up for one of your college classes and you need to come well-prepared with a comprehensive set of facts and figures at your disposal. How should you get ready? Some study techniques and information retention techniques are more effective than others, so how should you tackle the task ahead of you?

This article will take you through the basics of a technique scientifically proven to increase learning and retention by up to 50% according to B. Price Kerfoot, associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School. Imagine the positive effect that could have on your study or career success! Even better, this method is not particularly arduous or complicated to learn. Almost anyone can do it. Every student, teacher, and parent should understand how it works and, more importantly, how to use it to ensure high-quality retention. It is especially suitable for remembering lists and vocabulary items.

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The Power Of Spaced Repetition

Leitnersystem

    We’re going to take a look at spaced repetition and how it can help you keep hold of large quantities of information. Essentially, spaced repetition entails leaving longer and longer gaps between the presentation of information. In the 1970s, writer and social commentator Sebastian Leitner developed the Leitner System. In this system, information is presented on pieces of paper or card (flashcards) until the learner demonstrates that he or she has memorized that particular concept.

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    To use this system, start by writing out key pieces of information on flashcards. Make them approximately the size of a small postcard. Each piece of information must make sense in its own right, but try to restrict yourself to one key concept or theory per card. On the other side of the card, write out a question that will test your knowledge. For instance, if you are using this system to learn French vocabulary, you could simply write the French word on one side and English word on the other. Each card should have a clear question and answer. You can test yourself, or if you have a study partner, ask them to help you out.

    Next, find several empty boxes and line them up as shown in the diagram below.

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    Now, test yourself. Place all of your cards in Box 1. Go through them one by one, asking yourself the question written on the card before turning it over to see whether you answered correctly. If you get the answer correct, put the card in Box 2. If you get it wrong, place it back in Box 1. Now, here’s the really important part. The trick to making this system work is to go through the cards in the “lower” boxes more often than the “higher” boxes. In other words, you need to make sure that you are reviewing, re-testing, and re-learning the material with which you are the least familiar. This means that your learning time is used efficiently, because you are dedicating more time to your weaker areas, as opposed to re-hashing content with which you are already comfortable. This system removes the temptation to re-cap information you already know. It forces you to face the questions you find hardest!

    It is up to you how frequently you review the questions in each box, but provided you stick to the basics — that you make sure successfully answered questions are moved to the next box, whereas incorrectly answered questions are demoted back to Box 1, and that you spend proportionately more time on the material in the lower boxes — this system will work for you. Why not try it the next time you have a long list of facts to memorize?

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    Jay Hill

    Jay writes about communication and happiness on Lifehack.

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    Published on May 21, 2021

    Bedtimes For Kids At Different Ages (Your Go-To Guide)

    Bedtimes For Kids At Different Ages (Your Go-To Guide)

    Bedtimes for kids might be one of the most challenging parts of the day. Parents are tired and ready to relax, while kids of all ages seem to find extra energy and want nothing to do with sleep. One more story, one more trip to the bathroom, and one more question quickly make for a late-night, and no one gets the rest they need.

    If this happens often, you might start wondering if you and your child are getting the proper amount of sleep and how to make bedtime easier. Why is it so crucial for your child to get enough sleep? What does sleep deprivation look like? How do you improve bedtimes for kids?

    How Sleep Impacts Your Child’s Health

    Whether young or old, sleep is a vital part of staying healthy. There are many benefits to getting the right amount of sleep while not getting enough can have negative consequences. How does it impact your child?[1]

    • Brain Function – Sleep is linked to certain brain functions such as concentration, productivity, and cognition. These all impact a child’s behavior and academic success.
    • Weight – Sleep patterns affect the hormones responsible for appetite. A lack of sleep interferes with the ability to regulate food intake, making overeating more likely.
    • Physical Performance – Sleep impacts a person’s physical abilities. Proper rest means better performance, concentration, energy, mental clarity, and faster speed.
    • Physical Health – There are many ways sleep promotes health. Sleep heals the body but also helps prevent disease and health issues. Getting proper rest will regulate blood pressure, help prevent heart disease, reduce chances of sleep apnea, reduce inflammation, boost immune system, and lower risk of weight gain.
    • Improve Mental Health – A lack of sleep has a negative impact on mood and social and emotional intelligence. A child not getting proper sleep is more likely to experience depression, lack empathy and be unaware of other people’s emotions and reactions.

    Sleep, Risky Behavior, and Teens

    Studies found that teens were more likely to engage in risky behavior when they are sleep-deprived. They’ll have problems regulating their mood, making them more short-tempered, aggressive, and impulsive. Their inability to self-regulate can even look like the symptoms of ADHD.[2]

    Sleep deprivation becomes hazardous when teens are driving. The impulsiveness and risk-taking, along with exhaustion, put them at a higher risk for accidents. In fact, driving tired is comparable to driving with a blood alcohol content of .08.[3]

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    You can see why sleep is so essential to everyone’s health, but how much is needed? What do pediatricians recommend? Is it the same for all ages?

    Sleep Recommendations From Pediatricians

    Sleep requirements vary by age. It won’t be the same for every individual. Some people find that they need more sleep than others.

    Here is a basic guideline of what pediatricians now recommend:[4]

    • Ages 4-12 months: 12-16 hours (including naps)
    • Ages 1-2 years: 11-14 hours (including naps)
    • Ages 3-5 years: 10-13 hours (including naps)
    • Age 6-12 years: 9-12 hours
    • Age 13-18 years: 8-10 hours

    Increase the amount of sleep if your child isn’t thriving on the recommended amount.

    Signs Your Child Isn’t Getting Enough Sleep

    There are ways to tell if your child is getting adequate sleep beyond the usual grumpiness. Here are specific things to watch out for:[5]

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    • Excessive sleepiness during the day
    • Difficulty waking up on time
    • Hyperactivity
    • Depression
    • Inattention
    • Mood swings
    • Aggressive behavior
    • Irritability
    • Impatience
    • Impulse control

    As you can see, prolonged lack of sleep can cause relational problems and hinder your child’s ability to do well in school. What can you do if you realize your child is not getting enough sleep? How can you improve bedtimes for your kids?

    How to Set Up a Bedtime Routine

    Sleep hygiene or a bedtime schedule will help your child fall asleep faster. It will also improve the quality of sleep. You will need to adjust to what works for your family, but the following suggestions can help everyone have a more pleasant bedtime.

    For Babies

    Most people think they have to let their baby “cry it out” at bedtime. However, there are ways you can teach a baby to sleep without tears, making the experience more pleasant for everyone. In fact, studies show the faded bedtime method—or gentle sleep training—is just as effective as leaving a baby to cry but without the stress.[6] What is gentle sleep training?

    Gentle Sleep Training

    This method eases babies and young children into falling asleep on their own. There are two ways to do this:

    1. Positive Routines With Faded Bedtime

    Kids learn to fall asleep easily by using comforting, quiet, and predictable rituals, up to twenty minutes long. The key is to choose a bedtime that’s not too early. A child that isn’t tired will only fight sleep.

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    Start the process when your baby or child is sleepy, even if it’s later than you’d prefer. You’ll notice a pattern and quickly discover the time they naturally start winding down. Make this their bedtime for now. They will learn to associate sleep with the routine, and you’ll be able to start fifteen to twenty minutes earlier to slowly adjust their schedule.

    2. Sleep With Parental Presence

    With this method, you lie down with your baby or child until they fall asleep. Over time, you pay less attention to your child, gradually sitting up, then sitting in a chair. Eventually, your child will be able to sleep without you. A study showed that using this method helped infants sleep longer and wake up less.[7]

    Both of these ways take time but are effective and less traumatic than leaving an infant or young child to cry.

    More Tips to Help Your Baby Sleep Better

    You want to build a routine, but how? What are practical things you can do to help your baby get ready for bed?

    Here are tips for a soothing and calm bedtime:[8]

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    • Help set their “internal clock” by exposing them to natural daylight, daytime activities, and the calmness of evening.
    • Block blue light exposure.
    • Make the hour up to bedtime calm, peaceful, and pleasant.
    • Learn how to keep stress minimal for you and your baby.
    • Don’t force sleep. It will increase anxiety and make rest more difficult.
    • Avoid late afternoon naps
    • Prolong the time between nap and bedtime.
    • Feed baby right before bed.
    • Avoid intervening too soon if the baby starts to wake up. Give your child a chance to fall back asleep without your help.

    For Elementary-Aged Children

    It’s easier to follow a routine if you start young, but it’s never too late to begin. The good news is it only takes a few nights to notice an improvement in your child’s sleep.

    These ideas will help you set up a schedule that will encourage your child to fall asleep easier, faster, and for a more extended period.[9]

    • Offer them a nutritious snack.
    • Bathe them.
    • Brush their teeth and go to the bathroom.
    • Read them a story.
    • Sing them a song.
    • Cuddle or massage them.
    • Talk about the day.

    For best results, choose a handful of activities and do them in the same order each night. Dim the lights and keep activity minimal to help everyone slow down.

    For Teens

    They might fight the idea of getting more sleep, but teens will benefit from a routine, too. They’re usually capable of overseeing their bedtime, but a little structure and oversight can help them get the sleep they need. By implementing the following tips, your teen can get better rest.[10]

    • Avoid caffeine in the evening.
    • Limit screen time.
    • Avoid late-night binging.
    • Exercise, ideally sixty minutes a day.
    • Keep the bedroom dark, cool, and quiet.
    • Talk through problems.

    Quality Sleep for a Healthy Life

    Bedtimes for kids can be an enjoyable part of the day with proper sleep hygiene in place. Not only can it be quality time with your child, but it can also set them on the road to good health and high performance. By implementing these tips, you can ensure proper rest for the whole family and better bedtimes for kids.

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    Featured photo credit: Igordoon Primus via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Medical News Today: Why Sleep Is Essential For Health
    [2] Child Mind Institute: Teens And Sleep: The Cost Of Sleep Deprivation
    [3] Depart of Health: Drowsy Driving Prevention, Teens Ages 16 To 19
    [4] AAP publications: AAP Endorses New Recommendations On Sleep Times
    [5] Journal of Excellence in Nursing Leadership: Sleep Deprivation In Children A Growing Public Health Concern
    [6] Parenting Science: Gentle Infant Sleep Training
    [7] BetterHealth: Solutions to sleep concerns (11) – babies 6 to 12 months
    [8] Parenting Science: 15 Evidence-Based Baby Sleep Tips
    [9] Sleep Foundation: Bedtime Routines For Children
    [10] NHS: Sleep Tips For Teenagers

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