Are you Getting Enough Language Boosting Sleep?

Getting a good night’s sleep is one of those things that everyone knows they should be doing, but most people do not due to “lack of time.”  If you want to learn Japanese fast and efficiently, you need  a proper amount of sleep.  I often see people study Japanese with incredible pace, and then only get a 3-5 hours of a sleep a night.

I’m sure you’ve heard been told the importance of sleep your entire life.  Sleep is the elixir potion for your brain.  If you never have read much on the topic, let me tell you, the brain is freaking awesome.  Read up a little bit about it to understand it’s vast power.  Why are you going to take away the main thing that the brain needs to perform to its potential?

Getting enough sleep has a very powerful, two-fold effect:

1.  It gives you more energy/motivation to study

“I’m too tired to study.”
“I don’t have the energy to study now.”
“This studying is boring.”
“I can’t focus on this.”

What do you think causes this?  Sleep will improve both the length of time you can study Japanese as well as how much you get out of each study session.

2.  It amplifies what you study

Sleep not only improves memory, but it builds lasting neural connections in your brain that increase your ability to tap into your Japanese.  Think of it as a video game macro, where you use a program that automatically levels up your character when you are away from the computer.  Sleeping does the same thing for your Japanese.  You don’t have to do anything except sleep.  Your brain automatically does all the work of processing all the Japanese you learned that day and making sure you have full access to it.  Wouldn’t you like your brain to power level you while you are asleep?

Typical Rebuttals:  Most people don’t get that much sleep.  I don’t need that much sleep.  I’ve done fine in my life this far without getting that much sleep.  Don’t tell me how to run my life.

Most people do a lot of things that are inefficient:  Paper flash cards.  Learning the sentence “これはぺんです (This is a pen).”  Romaji.  Bad textbooks.  Bad classes.  Why should you also be doing inefficient things?

Maybe you have gone this far without much sleep, but do you or do you not want to learn Japanese at a faster rate?

And how much sleep should you get?

I don’t think I need to answer this as you’ve probably heard this before.  Most current studies say around 7-9 hours.

Now go to sleep.

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Founder of Jalup. Spends most of his time absorbing and spreading thrilling information about learning Japanese.


Are you Getting Enough Language Boosting Sleep? — 17 Comments

  1. I have a question should I do the Japanese to English if I have not finished RTK? Thanks in advance and sorry that it is off topic

    • It’s better to get as much of the RTK done before you start J-E sentences. However, if doing only the RTK is boring you to death, then by all means start the sentences while finishing RTK.

  2. Thats for the advice and on more question(sorry that i am asking a lot of questions >.>) I have been watching a lot of anime without the subtitles. I wanted to widen my variety on things that i watch and listen to do you have any recommendations of good listening resources other than anime. I also listen to podcast and watch the news. Thanks again.

  3. I would (although nobody asked me) wholeheartedly recommend Japanese variety shows like: リンカ-ン(Lincoln) or がきの使い(Gaki no tsukai) or the associated 罰ゲ-ム(Batsu game)。You don’t have to be able to understand much Japanese to enjoy the humor! +they often use Japanese subtitles to highlight what they are saying.
    A stranger told me there are sites on the net where you can find them…

  4. Getting enough sleep is important for doing well at anything, but few people seem to actually believe that (because they don’t make sleep a priority). I understand not getting enough if you have a newborn in the house, etc. but make sleeping enough hours a priority and it will get done!

    I wish I could convince my dad to try this. He is tired all the time because he only sleeps maybe 4 hours a night. He is retired and just spends a lot of time working on projects. My belief is that if he slept enough, he could move much faster/more efficiently because of it, but instead he gives up his sleeping time to work on stuff because he moves so slowly!

  5. On the topic, I’m curious about what you think of immersion while sleeping. Useless? Controversial, but should do it anyway just in case it helps? While we sleep, our brain is organizing what we learned through the day, and adding input confuses our mind?

    • I don’t think it’s worth it. There are too many studies against it and there is a danger of it interrupting your sleep. But more importantly, your brain is already learning while it’s sleeping without you inputting additional new information. As you said, it’s organizing everything that went on throughout the day, making sense of it, and putting what it thinks should be in long(er) term memory.

    • I think if there is value in this, it is hearing it last thing at night and first thing in the morning. On most if not all platforms there are ways to set this up a sleep timer and alarm so you can have this without impacting sleep quality.

      Currently my alarm clock is 15 minutes of Japanese audio before I get up. I’ve occasionally done a sleep timer playing Japanese audio for about how long it normally takes me to get to sleep; I felt it had some benefit and would probably do it more often if Japanese were more central to my life.

    • I personally do it and I don’t notice a problem with my sleep, not tired through the day or anything, plus sometimes it takes me a while to go to sleep so I find it enjoyable to hear Japanese for extra long.

      For me, setting timers is just a pain, because it’s not like we go to bed at the same time everyday, and take the same amount of time to fall asleep everyday (can somebody say 面倒臭えええぇええ!!) Either way, too much of a pain for timers, I just let it play and play, and when I wake up it’s the first thing I hear.

      • Do you leave it on as a speaker or do you use headphones?

        I’d love to be able to listen to Japanese while going to sleep. (I always have to have SOMETHING on when going to sleep as is.) However, my boyfriend is tired of hearing Japanese, so I have to use headphones, but I’ve yet to find a set of headphones that are comfortable to lay down with.
        (Including ear buds, they hurt my ears after about thirty minutes.)

        • Speakers. Well, I am a mid-teenage boy still living with his parents, and I am pretty much always in my room, and it’s loud enough for me to hear but it won’t make it all the way to the other rooms, but I tried earphones and headphones but the cable really restricts you, and there were countless times when I accidentally rip them out of my ears cuz I turned around.

  6. Wanted to comment here because i just noticed again how important sleep is after not getting enough. It is kind of hard sometimes even if you know that sleep is important but you can’t quantify it because you just know it is important but not by how much.

    So i thought i put it into a somplified video Game Example, so i can imagine it better. (Wanted to share in in case it helps someone getting more sleep).

    Think of a Game where the Damage you are dealing and getting is based on your HP and everything you do will cost you HP. Which means the more stuff you do the weaker your damage will be and enemies will hurt you more. With sleep you can get back the HP. The more you sleep the more HP you can get back. (Life is of course more complex but to get the basic idea I think its enough).

    So lets Play the game!

    First day: HP=100; Damage always the same as HP

    So you are starting the Game still full of Energy. Your first fight Anki cards in the Morning. You still do a lot of Damage and get very litte damage. lets say you did 100 damage on the enemy and he only did 10 Damage to you. After it you still have 90 HP but already did a lot.

    So you are progressing like that through the Day and at the end of the first Day you have 33 HP. Imagine you would do the Anki cards from the Morning now you would only do 33 Damage instead of 100 so you could only complete 1/3 of the morning Cards but not only that they would damage you with 30 instead of 10 and would nearly kill you! I think that shows how important full HP are in the Game of Life.

    Now lets Imagine 2 ways someone procedes in the Game Player 1 goes to sleep and sleeps 7 hours and Player 2 is pushing through the Anki cards like in the example and has only only 6 hours of sleep instead of 7.

    Lets imagin you get back 10 HP with every hour you sleep which means the Stats for both players would look like this in the Morning:

    Player 1: 100HP (had 33HP at the end of the day and got back 70HP with sleeping 7 hours)
    Player 2: 63HP (Lost 30 HP from his 33HP because of the Anki Cards and got back 60HP because of 6 Hours sleep)

    Now both players are doing anki Cards in the Morning (Imagine they always can do 100 cards with 100 HP for this). Player 1 Manages to do 100 cards with 100 HP and Player 2 only Manages 63. You can See already even if Player 2 did about 40 cards in the last Evening that player 1 didnt now they would be about the same again. But only the same what they accomplished in Anki. Player 1 took again 10 Damage, but player 2 because of already starting the Day with less energy lost about 15HP.

    So HP of both players after the Anki Cards:
    Player 1: 90 HP
    Player 2: 48 HP

    And now Imagine what player 1 can still do the whole day and player 2 has already to think about not to use too much HP resources for other Stuff! I think this shows quite well how big the difference can be if you sleep enough. And that was just one day. If both players proceeded with the same pattern of Player 1 always sleeping enough and Player 2 not sleeping enough its not hard to see how Player 1 would slash through monsters (anki cards) without any Problem every Day but everything would be pretty hard for Player 2 maybe even giving up one day because all the things he has to do in life already take most of his HP and he doesnt have any HP for learning Japanese anymore to spare.

    Of course I think the example is more extreme than 1 hour less sleep would do to you in real life but I realy think it has at least a similiar pattern over time and its just not worth loosing sleep because of trying to do something productive instead.

    I hope this is not too long for a comment now but I just wanted to share this XD

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