Question: How does sleep effect our ability to learn and retain knowledge?

I would think that this question is important, as it would directly pertain to the ability of a students learning and what times certain activities should be started. I personally find it interesting, as a few people who were recognized as being highly intelligent, slept for very little and seemed to be just fine, yet study's say that doing so have largely negative effects. So, it makes me curious as to how Leonardo de Vinci (2hours of sleep per day), Thomas Edison (3hours of sleep per day), and Nicola Tesla (2hours of sleep per day) seemed to function just fine or better even with so little sleep. I find the concept quite interesting as if I slept that amount every night I'd probably just collapse in the middle of the day, Though I have had similar experiences to that, such as sleeping only 4 hours and feeling awesome in the morning and sleeping 10 hours and feeling terrible in the morning. I also have a faint memory of a story told to me by mom at some point when I was small of a person who travelled the world and slept in 15-minute naps every 2 hours, rather then in one go, my mom of course doesn't remember anything resembling this when I asked her. I think that researching this might be helpful to me and others who would read this as it might better inform them and others of bad habits that are impeding them and their learning, or at least that's my hope with this question.

Round One

For the first round of research I think that the most logical thing to learn about would be the basics of sleep, such as,

  • Is all sleep the same? What effects how you sleep?
  • Does it matter how you sleep? The difference between sleeping all at once (EX.8 hours straight) or splitting it into small periods over 2 hour or 1-hour intervals (EX.20minutes every 2 hours).
  • How would different sleeping disorders effect this (EX. Insomnia)?
  • Do dreams effect your sleep?
  • Why do we need to sleep? What does it do? 

Round Two

For the second round of research I think the next step in my research should be into looking on how sleep effects the brain and how we function;

  • Research into experiments on the effects of sleep.
  • Correlation between memory and sleep? Correlations between or attention span and sleep?
  • Exceptions to the amount of sleep (such as someone needing 6 hours instead of 8 to function at their best), and what is this presumably caused by?
  • What is sleep debt, and how does it affect us?
  • Does the time at which we sleep matter? (EX. 9pm to 6am vs. 4pm to 1am)

Round Three

 For round three I think that ill be looking more specifically on how its effects core skills, the long-term effects it has on our ability to function at school, how certain activity’s (EX. school) can affect our need for sleep, and how other activities may change our demand for sleep (EX. exercise);

  • How are core motor skills effected by sleep? (EX. vision, hearing, ability to process information)
  • Would more activity during the day make more sleep necessary? 
  • Does school effect the amount of time we need to sleep? is it a contributing factor in why adults need 7 hours, but adolescents need 9?
  • Are there things we can do to need less sleep? Are there things we do that make us need more sleep?
  • The good and bad of having to wake up early.


The conclusion will be made by putting together all I previously learned in the three rounds, and it will help to sum up what I have learned.

  1. Starting off with a brief summary of what I have learned, and what I had first that I would learn come up with.
  2. What I think the answer to my question would be based off of the information previously assembled.
  3. How this could affect others and the world around me.
  4. A brief reflection of what I have done in whole
  5. A brief concluding statement to sum up everything.

 Possible sources,


Any comments, critiques or help would be greatly appreciated.


Original Post

Hi Bogdan!

Wow nice project plan! I find it really interesting how you decided to do a study about the effects of sleep on the students' ability and performance in the academic/creative perspective. First of all, I never knew that such important influencers and inventors of our society, that you've mentioned, managed to function and do the amazing things they've done with so little and irregular sleep. I did some research about them, and I found a sleep schedule, that some of the famous geniuses that you've mentioned such as Leonard da Vinci, had followed. It is called the "Uber-man sleep schedule" where individuals would only slept brief periods from 20 minutes to 2 hours multiple times a day. I enclosed an article about that if you are interested in learning more! Nonetheless, I also find it personally fascinating how individuals and studies these days tell us that we need at least 8 hours of sleep to function properly. However, when I found out that these geniuses only slept about 5 hours a day and still managed to demonstrate such amazing productivity and creativity, it really made me question the accuracy of these studies that tell us such. It's captivating how sleep deprivation is such a major problem in our society. People are so ambitious to have success academically or for other reasons to put their health at risk to feel the sentiment of triumph. For example, two semesters ago, I remember that I stayed up until 12:00pm to study for my socials exam that was the next day. I had personally felt completely unprepared, and I believed that I would excel more on the test if I would just study for ten more minutes. As a result, I stayed up and studied for a really long time! Because I did receive a pretty good grade, there's always this one side of me that encourages me to do it again and be sleep deprived although it goes against my greater will. I'm typically a person who sleeps at about 9:30pm to 10:30pm at the latest! I need at least 8 hours of sleep or I can't function as well. Moreover, I'm also looking into sleep for my inquiry project, and it got me thinking that you could also look in to circadian rhythms. These are basically changes that effect people physically, mentally and behaviorally. However, it also influences bodily functions such as sleep-wake cycles which is the topic you are currently looking into.

I'm looking forward to your future research rounds! Keep up the great work!

Good luck!


Websites you could use:



Hey Bogdan! I think your topic is super intriguing and interesting! It's honestly a weird thing because there's been times where I've gotten well over 8 hours of sleep and 5 hours other times, but for a few of the times I got more than 8 hours, I felt just as tired as I did with 5 hours of sleep.  Maybe something you could look into is what differences caffeine could have and if you'd still need 8 hours of sleep if you drank caffeine. For an example, could you get only 3-5 hours of sleep but then drink a bunch of coffee to make up for that couple hours loss of sleep? Or would you still need the 8 hours of sleep along with some coffee? 

Here are some websites to help with your first round of research:


 Good luck

Hey Bogdan! 
I found your project plan really neat and organized, it was super easy to understand ineriguinging! This question has always been in the back of my mind, because there has been times where I've related to this situation. There would be days where my sleep would be awfully short, but I did super well in the day and days where I slept for more than 8 hours and could not maintain myself the following morning! Maybe to go in depth on how dreams effect our sleep in round 1, you could briefly interpret a couple of different cases of dreams and from that build on how it can affect our sleep.  

Here are some links that might help:

Good luck! 

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