When we learn something new we need time to absorb it into our brain, we need to make sense of it so that we can apply it. But time alone is not enough to maximize the learning.
Often performance improves after a time-interval that includes sleep.
Many studies demonstrate that a healthy sleep produces a significant learning dependent performance boost. Healthy sleep must include the right amounts of the different types of sleep, which play different roles in how we consolidate and organize our memories.
In motor skill learning, an interval of sleep may be critical for the skills to be adopted; without sleep it will take longer to master the skill.
A study has also found that after sleep there is an increased insight, a sudden gain of explicit knowledge. Because during sleep the our new memories are restructured so they make sense to us.
Sleep has been directly linked to the grades of students. One in four U.S. high school students admit to falling asleep in class at least once a week. Consequently, results have shown that those who sleep less do poorly.
There have been a ton of stuides done on sleep and the effects on the human brain. It all gets very technical, but basically boils down to common sense.
If you want to perform at your best – you need to get good quality sleep!