Why it is important to take breaks when scheduling your learning sessions
“Learn in your sleep.” Have you ever heard of this saying? Of course, you can’t learn a language in your sleep, but many people believe they are better able to remember things they have read or learned in the evening right before they go to sleep. This is because the brain needs periods of rest to be able to process what it has learned. Nighttime is, of course, optimal for this, but it also works well for periods of rest during the day. Here are some tips on how you can organize your learning as well as some hints on what doesn’t work so well.
Learning phases and rest phases
No one can tell you how long your learning phase should be. Each person is different and every learning task varies. For example, if I’m learning vocabulary, short learning phases of 10 to 15 minutes are optimal, while I can do reading or grammar exercises for 45 minutes. And you should also consider whether the length of the learning phases motivates you: 45-minute study sessions that you rarely do because you keep putting it off are less effective than daily 15-minute study sessions. It’s the same with rest periods but often just a few minutes are enough. However, be careful: If you only use the break to quickly do something else, then your brain doesn’t have the opportunity to process what you’ve learned during this time!
What to do during the rest break?
- Move around, walk up and down, stretch your body a little. The movement stimulates your blood circulation and blood flow to the brain and at the same time you don’t do anything that distracts from processing your learning.
- Go outside or open a window and take a few deep breaths. Oxygen is super important for your brain, so take advantage of the time and take in as much as you can.
- Meditate – it can also be a mini-meditation where you close your eyes and consciously breathe a few times. Counting while doing this helps to relax: Inhale – 2 – 3 – 4… Exhale – 2 – 3 – 4.
- Drink a glass of water. Sufficient hydration is key to keeping your brain working. You can also eat some nuts or another small snack.
You can even combine these things, but you don’t have to do them all at once. It’s a rest period, so please don’t stress.
What not to do during the rest period:
- Surf social media or watch YouTube videos. Don’t occupy your brain with useless stuff.
- Discuss problems with friends or family. In this situation, it will be difficult to concentrate on studying even after the break.
- Eat a full meal quickly. This is really bad: after a huge meal, the digestive tract gets more blood flow, and the brain less. As a result, we often feel tired after eating. Eating quickly is especially bad because the food has been insufficiently chewed. Please, please, don’t do it!
- Just quickly… answer an email, call someone, pay a bill online, etc. Give yourself and your brain a break!
I am sure these tips will make your learning program more effective. Keep in mind that everyone is different, so adjust your breaks to suit you and your needs. Maybe you have some tips for other learners? I’d love for you to share them in the comments!