Sleep – The Ultimate Key to Optimum Performance, Learning, Memory, Health and more… Summary of Why We Sleep, The New Science of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker

Why We Sleep, The New Science of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker Summary

orWhy We Sleep, The New Science of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker

Sleep is the best medicine
It looks like sleep is the panacea that can solve most of your problems. Health-wise, sleep will protect you from flu and infections, heart disease, mental health problems, dementia, and accidents among other things as well as help you lose weight and make you look younger (beauty sleep). Sleep will boost your overall performance and make you more productive, creative and socially adept. When learning is concerned, sleep will boost your memory. One of the key functions of sleep is to process and consolidate your memory.

“Routinely sleeping less than six or seven hours a night demolishes your immune system, more than doubling your risk of cancer.”

Interestingly enough, the 108th Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for 2017, has been awarded to a trio of American scientists, Jeffrey C Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W Young, for their discoveries on the molecular mechanisms controlling circadian rhythms – in other words, the 24-hour body biological clock, that helps to regulate sleep patterns, feeding behaviour, hormone release and blood pressure. Their discoveries have explained, “how plants, animals and humans adapt their biological rhythm so that it is synchronised with the Earth’s revolutions.”

“Sleep is the single most effective thing we can do to reset our brain and body health each day. Sleep is the best medicine.” Professor Matthew Walker


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Talk about what you read – to remember – Spd Rdng Technique number 19

Talk about what you read – to remember – Spd Rdng Technique number 19

Summary: Talking about what you read helps crystallise your understandings in your mind – which is the first step to remembering. Do it twice:
1) as you read, summarise the information to yourself – it keeps you actively engaged.
2) after reading, tell someone what you’ve read – it helps you understand and remember it better.

Talk to somebody to remember Spd Rdng 19

Talk to somebody to remember

 Although reading is traditionally viewed as a passive activity, it is important to engage with the material if you want to learn and remember things from it. Verbalising is an important part of clarifying, consolidating and retaining information you read.

Research is now backing up what we’ve been teaching for over 14 years
Canadian researchers (Alexis Lafleur and Victor Boucher)suggest that those who talk to themselves or others may have better memories than those who don’t. So if you want to remember something talk to yourself our loud or share it with others. Professor Victor Boucher of the University of Montreal in Quebec states that by increasing the number of aspects to the information (i.e. the effort of talking and moving lips) we make it more memorable. This links to the speed reading technique number 16 (remember by doing something) which states that the more things you do to remember information the more likely you will recall it later. The research paper (The ecology of self-monitoring effects on memory of verbal productions: Does speaking to someone make a difference?) published in the Journal of Consciousness and Cognition states: “The simple fact of articulating without making a sound creates a sensorimotor link that increases our ability to remember, but if it is related to the functionality of speech, we remember even more. The added effect of talking to someone shows that in addition to the sensorimotor aspects related to verbal expression, the brain refers to the multisensory information associated with the communication episode.”

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Coffee improves memory

Coffee triggers a mechanism in your brain that releases a growth factor called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) which also activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons in your brain, which can have definitive benefits for your brain function. Research conducted at Johns Hopkins University found that 200 milligram (mg) of caffeine enhanced participants’ memory for up to 24 hours. Natural blend of polyphenol antioxidants (including chlorogenic acids), bioflavonoids, vitamins and minerals in coffee beans all work together to help neutralize the harsher effects of the caffeine.
Read more about the benefits of drinking coffee

Top 7 Foods to Boost Brainpower

How sleep helps with memory formation and learning

There is a lot of research on the role of sleep and memory formation and learning. But only recently scientists discovered how it happens. During sleep your brain forms new synapses and nurons that help with learning and memory. “…sleep is important to the process of forming long term memory,” says Wen-Biao Gan, a neuroscientist and physiologist at New York University who discovered that learning, or making long term memories, is a two part process in which sleep plays an important role. Sleep is also an essential aspect of health. Not enough of sleep can lead to all kinds of health problems such as diabetes, heart problems, cancer,obesity and so on. Top tips for getting good night’s sleep include sleeping in total darkness and avoiding electromagnetic pollution which will disturb melatonin production which is critical for good night’s sleep. Read top tips for good sleep

Watch this video about the importance of optimising your sleep below. Research shows that most people need eight hours of sleep – ideally in total darkness (one photon of light can disturb melatonin production which is responsible for good sleep – make sure that you have low electromagnetic pollution levels in your bedroom – light falls into an electromagnetic spectrum and our bodies perceive electro-smog as light – so switch off your wifi router for the nigh – read top tips on how to avoid and minimise electro-smog).

To Remember – Write it Down by Hand

Old-fashioned note taking by hand can enhance your memory. Studies show that people who take notes in shorthand not only comprehend information better but also remember for longer. Although we type more than write by hand, it makes sense since we all learnt to write first before typing and this is our primarily mode of inputing and coding information. (Although, in some schools in America they started to experiment with teaching kids to type first.) Also, in English we say ‘learn by heart’ and handwriting is more analogue way on coding information as opposed to typing which is more digital and cerebral. Read top tips for boosting your memory and drinking moringa tree tea can enhance your memory too. Read how to hold your pen ergonomically

Write down your goals by hand or to remember better

Write down your goals by hand and/or to remember better (ideally on something permanent)

Other studies suggest that people who write down their goals by hand are more likely to achieve them.

How to boost your memory – top 9 lifestyle tips for improving your memory

Screen Shot 2014-02-23 at 18.10.42Top 9 lifestyle tips for improving your memory (according to A Man’s Guide to Healthy Aging). By the way, don’t worry if you momentarily forget your ATM pin number – you really need to start to worry about your memory if you forget what the ATM is used for.

1) Physical (daily) exercise is important and will enhance your memory and decrease the risk of dementia.

2) Cognitive exercises such as doing jigsaw puzzles, puzzles, games and thinking challenges and whenever the brain is challenged will bolster memory functioning and builds reserves.

3) Antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids – include these in your diet and  you will reduce your risk of cognitive decline. Top antioxidant super-foods are: chaga mushrooms, moringa tree, green tea, berries, broccoli, garlic, coco and other antioxidants. Read more about how antioxidants work

4) Have a good night sleep.

Lots of research suggest that sleep is critical for boosting your memory because sleep-loss impairs memory consolidation. The more you learn the more you need to sleep. For examples, babies sleep so much because everything is new to them and they need to process that information during their sleep. 33 top tips on good sleep

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To boost your memory make a fist

Fist clenching can boost your memory, suggests a new study on memory. It works because clenching your fist can change the way your brain functions by increase activity in your brain on the opposite side (so if you clench your right fist, activity in the left brain hemisphere increases). If you’re right-handed, the left side of your brain encodes information while the right side helps you retrieve memories, while the opposite is true for left-handed people. This is how to utilise this memory aid: if you’re right-handed you would make a fist with your right hand when you want to remember something, ie a name, fact or number and when you need to recall it, clench your left fist. Other ways to boost memory include: exercise, vitamin B12, animal-based omega-3 fats, proper sleep, and  optimising your vitamin D levels and avoiding sugar which can damage your memory and learning.

How to improve memory

How to improve memory

In ancient Greek and Roman times, memory was greatly valued – the word itself comes from the name of the Greek goddess of memory, Mnemosyne. Roman senators had to address the senate without written notes, so they perfected ways of improving their memories, and identified the two main principles underlying conscious memory: imagination and association. You associate the thing you want to remember with something fixed, and then you use your imagination to make the picture as vivid as possible. The Romans associated their ideas with fixed points around the room they were talking in, and then referred to them (which gives the English expressions: In the first place …, in the second place …, etc.) The peg-word and link-word systems involve learning a series of items linked to numbers (1=sun, 2=shoe, etc, or a phonetic system which can run into the thousands). This is the list to which you then ‘peg’ the items you wish to remember by creating vivid images involving the peg word and the item to be remembered. Alternatively create a story in which a series of items are linked sequentially.

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Come to your senses: how much information your senses process

Come to your senses:
The eye takes in 10 million bits of information per second and deals consciously with 40.
The ear takes in 100,000 bits of information per second and can deal consciously with 30.
The skin takes in 100,000 bits of information per second and can deal consciously with 5.
We can smell 100,000 bits of information per second and can deal consciously with one.
We can taste 1,000 bits of information per second and can deal consciously with one.
From Human Physiology by Manfred Zimmermann’s Springer-Verlag 1989.

One-day Memory workshop – the perfect introduction to speed reading

Would you like to improve your memory? Remember more of what’s important to you? Then join us for this one-day special course on memory skills.
The workshop will be taught and facilitated by Susan and Jan, and will also include a 75-minute syntopic processing session  which is the perfect opportunity to experience spd rdng. The course is for people who have either completed, are enrolled on a Spd Rdng course or just interested in speed reading, learning and memory.  If we all bring one or two books on memory for sharing we’ll have the benefit of all the received wisdom on the subject.
TO BOOK: email Jan on DATE: Sunday 26 June 2011; 10am-5pm FEE: £99 VENUE: East Finchley N2 8LL (North London)
Testimonials from the course:
“Memory techniques work!” Student, London
“It was a very enjoyable and inspiring memory workshop.” Student, London
“Very clear and simple format for memory improvement.” Raina Malik, London

Sleep more. Researchers say an afternoon nap prepares the brain to learn better and remember more

How siestas help you remember more

Sleep Pods devised by MetroNap

Sleep Pods devised by MetroNap

“It has already been established that those who siesta are less likely to die of heart disease (people who siesta for 20-30 minutes each day are 30% less likely to suffer from heart disease as sleep lowers stress on the heart). Now, Matthew Walker and his colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley, have found that they probably have better memory, too. A post-prandial snooze, Dr Walker has discovered, sets the brain up for learning. The ideal nap, follows a cycle of between 90 and 100 minutes (according the research, napping for 90 minutes after lunch can improve your productivity by up to 10%). The benefits to memory of a nap, says Dr Walker, are so great that they can equal an entire night’s sleep. He warns, however, that napping must not be done too late in the day or it will interfere with night-time sleep. Moreover, not everyone awakens refreshed from a siesta. The grogginess that results from an unrefreshing siesta is termed “sleep inertia”. This happens when the brain is woken from a deep sleep with its cells still firing at a slow rhythm and its temperature and blood flow decreased. Sara Mednick, from the University of California, San Diego, suggests that non-habitual nappers suffer from this more often than those who siesta regularly. It may be that those who have a tendency to wake up groggy are choosing not to siesta in the first place. Perhaps, though, as in so many things, it is practice that makes perfect.” Read the full story in Economist

Read more on the role of sleep in learning