Reposted from the Cardus After Hours blog (RIP).
I've read dozens of articles that talk about how, for instance, Google might be making us stupid or being ultra-connected to the computer is probably a bad thing. Okay, I think—I don't really look at my laptop on weekends and make liberal use of Freedom to make sure I don't multitask too much.
This is the first one that gave me real pause: studies find that digital devices deprive us of needed downtime, thereby keeping our brains from turning experiences into memories and factoids into knowledge.
In college, someone told me that (all else being equal) it's actually better to study until 2am, then sleep for a few hours, than to get a good night's sleep until 5am and get up to study. The brain spends your sleeping hours turning knowledge into memory, so you'll actually do better cramming the night before and getting a little sleep.
Lately I find it harder and harder to retain material, and I'm beginning to think that checking my iPhone while I'm in line at Starbucks or waiting for the train might have something to do with it. After all, I do my best thinking in the shower—and I don't think that's a coincidence.