I was listening to a TED talk the other day, about sleep and how and why it's so important. It was posed that you actually should sleep for 32% of your life, it's how you are supposed to function. Everything else on the planet does.
Apparently Thomas Edison is some sort of monster, he was heard to say, after the invention of the light bulb. That alt last you could get more work done, and sleeping is a waste of time anyway.
We should be following the Sun, and when everything gets dark, just go to sleep. Wake up again when it's light... Thomas was the man rubbed out the dark, so you never got the signal..... well you probablt did, but were to stimulated to understand it. Have another Coffee, push on through.
So some scientific types have observed that the way we learn is very much controlled by sleep... I started going to bed earlier after I saw this. Have a good nights sleep before learning, and a good nights sleep after learning. It will bed it in a lot better, retention and recollection are boosted by letting the body do it's thing and absorb that information.
A study done with 2 groups. Group A had a great night sleep before and after a big test. Group B were up late and over stimulated before and after the test.
Group A had something like an 80% retention rate. Group B had around 40%.
So wrap this with a New Scientist article I read some years back, that said if you think of your memory in 2 halves, the inner and the outer part of your brain represent the Sub conscious and The outer as the Short Term. The outer is where all the short term stuff and the daily experience is captured. It is only short term, where everything that happened to you today day sits. Assuming you have a normal pattern and head off to bed in the evening. Your brain will then go and start filing the days memories.
The way it might do that, is to compare the current short term memory it is processing to past, current, future things in your memories. This is potentially why some of your dreams are a mix of these three time periods. Its just your brain trying to pigeon hole each memory, so they go from short term to long term.
So if you are not sleeping long enough, you are throwing away a lot of the good stuff you are catching of a day... and allegedly a tired brain doesn't actually capture that well, and processing is out the door too.
So what the heck are you doing reading this if the sun is not up ... get to bed with you, your poor brain is begging you. If you think that unwinding is sitting in front of the tv all night ... no, no, no, it is not unwinding at all, far from it, it's just a different track, where you can just flip into receive mode. You are not unwinding, you are just being stimulated in a way you don't have to feed back, it's easier.
So now you are going to go to bed with a head full of your day, and whatever stimulating media you have been "Unwinding" in front of. What's it going to push into long term memory tonight ?
Give your self a break, get to bed heaps earlier, and get out of bed at daylight... its what we are kinda sorta supposed to do.