Walk into a library at any Chinese university and you’ll see it: people sleeping. It’s shocking at first. Why would one sleep in the library? Because naps, and sleep in general, help you build long term memory. After getting used to the idea of sleeping in the library, I started napping between study sessions: it really helped.
How long should you nap?
I used to take 30-45 minute naps and believe such naps will help consolidate memory. However, current research indicates that studying followed by a 45-90 minute nap builds better recall than studying without a nap, and previous studies have shown that a 45 minute nap help improve scores on word-related tasks like memorizing random word pairs.
So if you find yourself studying vocabulary, kanji or hanzi all afternoon long, try catching some z’s in between. It helped me learn more hanzi faster and made sure I was well rested for a night out in the Wu or down in Sanlitun.
How do you mix studying and napping?