Skydiving Skills, Learning and Sleep

Are you staying up late studying the Skydiver’s Information Manual or Instructor’s Rating Manual for a rating examination? Or staying at the DZ to do a couple more practice jumps, even though you’re exhausted?

Common sense may tell you to stay up late studying or practicing a new skill, especially if you’re short on time. However, research shows that a large part of our learning happens when we sleep.

Scientists still do not have an explanation for the purpose of sleep. Nevertheless, studies show its effect on learning. Execution of new skills and learning improves about 20 percent after a night of sleep; mistakes are decreased about 35 percent. This applies to both mental and physical skills. In fact, study participants showed more improvement from a good night’s sleep than from additional practice.

The sleep itself must be quality, not light and short. And the first night provides the most benefit after initial training or learning. So if you really want that rating, stay up late with your friends and crack open the keg only after you’ve gotten what you’ve been studying for.

—Musika Farnsworth | A-20569

Walker, Matthew P., Brakefield, T., Seidman, J., Morgan, A., Hobson, J.A., Stickgold, R. 2003. Sleep and The Time Course of Motor Skill Learning. Learning Memory, 10: 275-284.


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Wed, 11/23/2011 - 16:56

Thanks for the information, I knew few details about that and I learned some new tricks every since then. I am Skydiving fan, it's true but I used the sleep learning tricks for my exams instead and I think it worked.

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