JLPT BC 84 | Sleeping your way to a Better Score

JLPT BC 84 | Sleeping your way to a Better Score post image
Sleeping helps you study

People in Japan have mastered the art of sleeping absolutely anywhere.

So, as I said last week. I finished off ほぼ日 and now I’m moving on to some Harry Potter. Specifically, I’m working my way through Harry Potter : The Sorcerer’s Stone, in other words the first Harry Potter book. I listened to the English audio book so I have a general idea of the story and what the characters are like.

This book is turning out to be a little bit harder than a thought, but a fun challenge. I’ve only been through about 10 pages and all ready I’ve added 70 new words to my word list. All of it is new descriptive words though that are pretty easy to understand without too much work. I’ll probably eventually put up an entire list of the more difficult vocabulary on memrise for everyone, once I get deeper into the book.

Speaking of vocabulary, I’m afraid I might have to tone down my vocabulary learning. My lightening speed of trying to absorb 20-30 words a day is starting to catch up with me and my busy schedule. The words that I have to review on memrise is getting to be a little too much for me in one morning session and I’ve had to start doing two sessions, which I really don’t have time for.

Sleeping your way to a Higher Score on the JLPT

Lately, as you can probably imagine, I’ve had a pretty hard time getting a good night’s sleep. My daughter loves to get up at random times in the night and serenade me with her screams. I know, deep down inside, she just wants to tell me about her day, but alas she is only 2 months old.

So, I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night, partially waking up, and taking naps when I can. I’ve also just been plain busy of late with the growth of the popularity of the site, which by the way is perfectly fine with me. But, all this craziness means less shut eye for me.

I’m starting to feel a bit like a machine that is starting to get a bit worn out. Things are not sticking in my head as well as they used to. And I know a lot of you get stuck in this same predicament as well, so I figured I do a little research into sleep.

Sleeping = Good

It turns out that not a whole lot of people know a lot about sleep. We all apparently do it, but no one is completely sure why or what happens. However, most scientists believe that sleep helps you consolidate your thoughts. In some recent studies, scientists discovered that getting a healthy amount of sleep can help you build connections in your head and improve your creativity in a subconscious way.

Also, it is generally believed that if you study something or are exposed something right before sleep you’ll dream about it. This, in turn, helps reinforce the knowledge in your head. So, you know all those difficult grammar points you are trying to remember? How about giving them a read through once before you turn in for the night.

Overall, scientists don’t exactly know what process during sleep helps you do this, but they pretty unanimous about one thing. That is that sleep is good for you. (I know, a big shocker there, right?)

Get Good Sleep

All right, so you should get good sleep, but how do you go about doing that if you are burning the candle at both ends or if you are like me and have a baby that loves to keep you up? You always hear about the fact that you should try to get 8 hours in, and that is great and all, but that is for normal people, right?

Well, there are a few tricks you can pull to trick your mind into being more awake. First of all, if you have the ability to do so, I highly recommend a siesta. Yes, those Spanish folk are not lazy, they are actually on to something. Taking a 15 minute snoozer in the middle of the day (around 2 or 3 pm) can help boost your brain power.

An added benefit is that if you are doing a study marathon all day, taking a short little nap in the middle will help to break it up and improve your memory because the day won’t seem like just one big blur. If you want to add a little kick to this routine, down a cup of coffee before you lay down for the nap. You’ll awake in 20 minutes right when the caffeine boost hits and you’ll be good to go.

While we are on the topic of caffeine, I should mention that if you do decide to imbibe in this powerful drug, make sure to stay hydrated. If you drink a lot of caffeine, be aware that it will dehydrate you in the process of recharging you. And actually, if you are pretty dehydrated to begin with, caffeine will actually make you more tired.

Also, you might want to invest some time in calculating your perfect sleep time. It really doesn’t take that much time, and it can be a real boost to your energy and alertness. It just takes a few simple steps:

  1. subtract 7.5 hours off the time you wake up.
  2. Go to sleep at that time.
  3. If you wake up 10 minutes before your alarm goes off 3 days in a row, your golden. You have found your perfect sleep time.
  4. If you needed your alarm clock to wake up, then add 15 more minutes to your sleep time by going to bed 15 minutes earlier.
  5. Repeat 2 through 4 until you’ve found the time that works for you.

And, you might have already heard this, but exercising 4 hours before your bed time is generally considered a bad idea. Caffeine 6 hours before your bed time is a bad idea. And, staring at a back-lit screen (like a monitor, TV, or smartphone) the hour before bed is kind of a bad idea too.

How do you Sleep at Night?

Do you keep to a healthy sleep cycle? Do you get the full 8 hours everyone says you should get?

Photo by Samantha Marx

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Jimbo June 26, 2012, 4:16 am

    Great sleep advice! I like to read Japanese right before bed so that it (hopefully) sticks in my head better. Also, way to go with Harry Potter! The first book I read all the way through in Japanese was The Prisoner of Azkaban. It took quite a while, but after I learned all the weird “wizarding world” related vocab, it got much easier. Also, having read that book two times before in English helped.

    • Mac June 27, 2012, 1:51 am

      I set a crazy goal for myself to try to read the entire series in Japanese. It might take a few years, but it is kind of fun to work your way through.

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