I’m continuing to answer your questions on language learning and share the best tips and tricks I’ve learned over the past 10 years.
Recently, in a coaching session, one of my students complained to me that his memory was terrible and that he couldn’t retain verbs in his long-term memory.
He asked me if I’d recommend studying new words before going to bed instead of studying them in the morning. He’d seen a bio-hacking coach giving this advice and backing it up with scientific studies.
Essentially, the theory is that we retain new pieces of information more efficiently when we have a long period of sleep right after having learned something new.
Well, here is my take on the matter…
The contents of this blog post were first published as a video. Watch the video entirely in Russian (with the English subtitles).
Concentration is the key
Having tested these techniques myself, I do believe that specific times of the day are better for memorization. However, I also advocate that sometimes the answer is far less complicated, and we need to go back to basics.
One of the most vital aspects of language learning is our ability to concentrate. However, this is often overlooked in the search for the magic bullet.
We can try out several advanced and sophisticated mnemonic techniques, but nothing will work if we can’t concentrate for long periods of time.
So ask yourself, how long can you concentrate for?
As my student was asking me about these techniques, I couldn’t help but notice that he was checking his phone every 5 minutes, continually being distracted by notifications.
So, how long can you concentrate without being distracted?
15 minutes? 10 minutes?
Technology has greatly improved the way we study languages, and I fully support using it as a powerful tool to boost our studies. However, it is also true that our concentration span decreased dramatically as we became more and more addicted to the next notification.
Conversely, it’s incredible how much better we can get by simply focusing our attention on one thing.
So before seeking out new memory techniques, ask yourself if you are really concentrating.
The ability to concentrate is a skill you can develop
See, the ability to concentrate is not inherent. It is a skill, and like all skills, it can be developed and perfected.
We start training our ability to concentrate around the age of six.
Children at that age can concentrate for about 15 minutes.
By the time we’re teenagers, despite the plethora of distractions,
we can usually concentrate about twice as long.
Adults can concentrate for even longer, which is an advantage as far as language learning is concerned.
Unfortunately, our multi-tasking lifestyle decreases our ability to focus, and that’s why it’s vital to re-train this skill.
Here are some tips on how to get more out of a study routine.
#1 Get enough sleep
While the amount of sleep individuals need varies, it is universally true that we are faster and far more productive when we have a rested brain.
We all want to be more productive when acquiring a new skill, like learning a new language. If we are stressed and tired, we simply won’t have the same productivity level as when we are well-rested and stress-free.
Sleep deprivation almost completely shuts down our focus and concentration, which will then have a significant impact on the process of forming new memories.
I can’t stress this enough: Rest is THE key for cementing new concepts in our long-term memory.
Sleep deprivation is much worse than people like to imagine, especially for language learning, as we rely heavily on our working memory.
If you’re not getting enough sleep, you might want to reevaluate your priorities.
If it’s not possible to sleep more hours at night, consider taking naps.
Naps can be beneficial, and they are a great way to refocus and recharge.
#2 Have a workout routine
Resting is not only about sleeping and taking naps. Countless scientific studies have proven that exercise is valuable for our mental restoration. It helps us clear our heads, giving our subconscious mind the opportunity to recover, allowing us to concentrate for extended periods of time.
So, start moving! The more you move, the more energized you will feel.
Having a regular and straightforward physical routine gives you more muscle strength and boosts your stamina. In other words, it will give you the energy you need to have a clear mind to focus and concentrate.
In an experiment published by the American College of Sports Medicine, a group of students was asked to memorize a long sequence of letters.
After they tried to commit it to memory, they were given 3 options: they could go for a run, lift some weights, or just sit in the classroom.
The students who ran found it much easier to recall the letters not only faster but more accurately.
Who do you think performed the worst? That’s right. The students who just sat in the classroom.
Sometimes a good 15 minutes of moving around, even just around your apartment, makes your body feel more energized and ready for the next round of studying.
#3 Drink enough water
Drinking water benefits hormone regulation and neurotransmitter production. Besides that It also produces more oxygenated cells and helps your body remove waste toxins. As a consequence, it increases your attention span.
A good habit to help you meet your daily intake needs is to keep a bottle of water by your desk.
With an easy source within eyesight, you’ll be constantly reminded to drink more water.
So there you have it.
3 simple but powerful tips to naturally improve your memory before you resort to more advanced and sophisticated mnemonic techniques.
Tip 1. Get enough sleep and if you don’t have enough hours at night, consider taking naps.
Tip 2. Start moving. Exercising will sharpen your focus.
Tip 3. Stay hydrated by drinking more water.
And before I go, a bonus tip:
Control your environment
Set time aside to study and limit distractions. Before starting to study:
- Close the door,
- Turn off the television,
- Shut your laptop,
- Turn off notifications or put your phone on airplane mode when studying.
After all, the best method to improve your concentration is to avoid distractions.
I’ve just shared with some tips, but now, it’s your turn. Do you have questions on language learning? Put them in the comments below and watch for them in upcoming videos and blog posts.
About the writer of this article:
Lucas Bighetti is a co-founder of LanguageBoost, he speaks 16 languages and shares the best language learning methods he has created and used over the years through videos and blogs. He is the creator of our learning methodology and is the main author of all our courses.
Narva mnt 5
Registry code: 14563273