Resting is relevant – and it helps you learn.

According to new research, taking a short break after practicing a new skill can help you learn the skill more quickly.

“‘ Everyone thinks you need to ‘practice, practice, practice’ when learning something new. Instead, we found that resting, early and often, may be just as critical to learning as practice,’” stated Leonardo G. Cohen, M.D., Ph.D., senior investigator at NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (“Want to learn,” 2019).

To test the importance of rest and learning, researchers utilized healthy right-handed volunteers and recorded their brain waves with scanning technology. They were required to sit in front of computer screen – a series of numbers would appear and they were tasked with typing those numbers as quickly as possible with their left hands for 10 seconds. They would then take short breaks and would slowly become more effective the more trials they ran (“Want to learn,” 2019).

It was found that the patient’s brain waves were much more active during the rest period, and performance was boosted significantly after resting. These individuals also improved quicker when they rested right away, rather than performing the same trial the next day (“Want to learn,” 2019).

This “rest period” helps solidify memories, thus creating more connections in the brain and increasing optimization and overall performance.

Reference: NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (2019, April 12). Want to learn a new skill? Take some short breaks: NIH study suggests our brains may use short rest periods to strengthen memories. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190412115055.htm