Learning a New Skill? Sleep on It!


Whether you're aiming for the perfect tee shot or a sharp inside serve, when you're learning a new skill, quality sleep may be just as important as practice, according to a new study from Harvard Medical School. Researchers found that people who learned a keyboard skill in the evening similar to performing scales on the piano accurately performed the task 20% faster than those who learned the skill in the morning. This latter group showed a big performance boost, though, after a good night's sleep.

"Learning a new movement skill seems to depend on a full night's sleep," says lead researcher Matthew Walker, PhD. In this study, the final 2 hours of shut-eye during an 8-hour-sleep night proved particularly important. Now you have an excuse to sleep in.


By Michele Stanten

with Selene Yeager

Michele Stanten is Prevention's fitness editor.

Share this with your friends