Sleep - or lack there of

Curious as to what other learners have experienced with regards to sleep patterns when learning a new language.

For myself, as an older person, the more I study, the more sleep seems to be disturbed. No problem falling asleep, but after 1 rem cycle, I wake up & my mind is spinning, making a 2nd rem cycle impossible.

Maybe it’s me, but was curious what others have experienced.

2 Likes

Hi, @stephencanthony! I can’t really say that my sleep has been affected, one way or the other, due to studying Portuguese–other than the very rare instance of some new word or expression drifting into my awareness during sleep. When I start studying, in earnest, how to conjugate some irregular verbs–that may very well induce nightmares and keep me awake! :grinning: Otherwise, even learning a new and fascinating language in my seventh decade has not dislodged my normal sleep pattern!

2 Likes

Gratified to hear it!

2 Likes

I often do my best creative thinking either during the period leading up to sleep, or during a waking period that follows a deep sleep. I find that either going over matters of importance, or for that matter language, is very helpful at times. I go back to sleep and finish the night.

3 Likes

That’s an unusual side effect, hah. Don’t you feel constantly tired, @stephencanthony?

2 Likes

I took an intensive Portuguese class this summer in Lisbon and I can say (after the first few days of listening, translating in my head to understand, and thinking my thoughts then translating them so I could speak) I was exhausted. When you work hard to pay attention, you can get very tired.

I teach bi-lingual students (little ones) and they work very hard to pay attention to what I’m saying in class that their parents say they would be exhausted after school. I never really understood why until I experienced it myself! It’s amazing how an activity, which requires little physical effort, can be so draining.

Other than that, I sleep like a baby- it doesn’t matter if I read, listened to, or studied Portuguese earlier that day.

2 Likes

It may be other stress. Work, etc. Also traveling… sleeping in strange beds, and not the usual surroundings.

Am in Porto now, 3 horas of intensive study today. We’ll see how tonight goes…

2 Likes

Ah, this usually makes a huge difference for me. I sleep less and wake up more easily and more often. At the same time, I feel less tired than I would be at home.

Indeed! But to me, it also depends on how much I’m enjoying what I’m learning. Sometimes, I’m energized by the acquisition of new knowledge, if I’m really into it.

3 Likes

Especially in the beginning, I found I would get quite mentally exhausted, but exercised helped clear the cobwebs a bit. I have never thought of Portuguese practice as directly affecting sleep, but rather a lot of the other factors, like future plans, worries about integrating in the long-term, or even excitement to learn something new… learning a language is certainly stimulating, so it would make sense that it’s hard to stop the wheels from spinning. If you’re looking at a screen before bed, I think that does definitely have an impact. Of course you likely know all this, but wanted to give my €0.02 :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thanks - it was definitely better this past trip to Porto. I was in class 3hrs M/W/F, and spent the balance of time with my family. Since they were speaking English, I had some down time to recover a bit. Then, and this was something… I ended up at the Rua Sta Catarina mall, in the food court, family shopping. Me sitting staring at the wall (very tired). A couple sat down and we started talking in Portuguese for about 1hr. And I was able to hold up my end of the conversation. So, I was pretty proud of myself, and secondly, at that point I was beyond tired :slight_smile:

1 Like

I dreamed in Portuguese last night. I was rubbish but people understood me! Result.

5 Likes

That’s excellent, @stephencanthony! Your experience in the food court would be a “dream come true” for me! Someday, it’ll happen! :slightly_smiling_face:

2 Likes

That’s fantastic!

1 Like