Towards the end of a typical six- to eight-hour night of sleep, the brain gets its chance at rejuvenation, during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. This is the stage that’s crucial for learners because the brain solidifies all that was taken in the day before and clears out old, unnecessary memories to make room for new information.

Getting enough sleep is an under-valued but crucial part of learning. Contrary to students’ belief that staying up all night to cram for an exam will lead to higher scores, truth is, the need for a good night’s rest is even more important than finishing homework or studying for a test.

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Lisa Aliferis

Lisa Aliferis is the founding editor of KQED's State of Health blog. Since 2011, she's been writing stories and editing them for the site. Before taking up blogging, she toiled for many years producing health stories for television, including Dateline NBC and San Francisco's CBS affiliate, KPIX-TV. She also wrote up a handy guide to the Affordable Care Act, especially for Californians. You can follow her on Twitter: @laliferis

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