It is best that you have both a good amount of sleep and a good amount of food for more lasting a concentration span and greater recall (Philibert, 2005; Pilcher & Walters, 1997; Wesnes, Pincock, Richardson, Helm & Hails, 2003). However, if you have that dilemma, which of the two are you better off choosing if you are not revising about food?

Research has found that hungry people give greater attention to food-related items than items that are not (Morris & Dolan, 2001). Thus, suggesting that hungry people concentrate better on food-related materials but are more distractible away from materials that are not food-related, making it advisable to choose to eat for that reason (Piech, Pastorino  & Zald, 2010). Sugary drinks do not counteract the effects that lack of food have on memory and concentration either (Wesnes et al., 2003).

On the other hand, not only does sleep deprivation negatively impact performance during wakefulness (Philibert, 2005; Pilcher & Walters, 1997), but during sleep, memories of declarative, procedural and emotional information are also improved in those who are not elderly or are psychiatric patients (Born, Rasch & Gais, 2006; Diekelmann, Wilhelm & Born, 2009; Ficca, Axelsson, Mollicone, Muto & Vitiello, 2010). Therefore, the brain does not stop working during sleep (Diekelmann, Wilhelm & Born, 2009; McClelland McNaughton & O’Reilly, 1995). However, memory-enhancing effects has also been argued for doing any task other than the learning task at hand (Vincent, 2009). Thus, any breaks, including cooking and eating, can help you. Nevertheless, it has been found that recall is greater after sleeping than after the same amount of time being awake, though this has been debated (Ellenbogen, Payne & Stickgold, 2006; Gais, Lucas & Born, 2006).

In conclusion, choosing to sleep appears to be the more advisable option for a lot of people. Although, being hungry can also decrease concentration span and the likelihood of recall. Which would you choose?

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