Should I study despite being sleep deprived?

There have been some days where I am completely deprived of sleep, had bad sleep or only a few hours either there are days where because I am deprived of sleep it’s really hard to do reviews or any study in general. And for my case, I also have really bad chronic insomnia.

Should I try to do reviews or new lessons despite being sleep deprived or should I do something else?

any advice would really help.


Short answer: no.

Long answer: noooooo


I sleep average of 5-6 hours a night
Never missed a day since I started WK

Depends on how much are you really sleep deprived, if less than 4 hrs -> go sleep


Perpetual fatigue is part of the fun fallout I have from a chronic medical condition. If your (period of) fatigue is transient, consider slowing down. Otherwise you have to just take it on the chin and accept it’s the way things are.

For me, keeping the routine is important. Consistency.

It is of course frustrating when there are kanji or whole levels where you can’t remember the material well, so you have to find a routine that is within your reasonable abilities.

Consider an extra review moment. The self study quiz plus additional filters can be very useful. You can do a quiz of your most recently failed items, for example, to cement the troublesome ones a bit more.

Or you may need to reduce your lesson load until you hit a learning and reviewing routine that you can keep up every day.

In short; rest if it can be rested away. If it can’t be, adjust you routine until you find optimal sustainability.


I suck when I haven`t had much sleep. I do lessons and remember nothing and do badly in reviews :frowning: But we must keep working for the Crabigator!


Lack of sleep and learning never go well together. You should prioritize sleep, in my opinion.


Should you do something else?

Of course, you should take care of your sleep schedule!

Can’t link to supporting resources right now but from what I read and experienced myself being well rested makes people significantly more productive, improves perceived quality of life, and prevents health problems.

Whatever you may read about some people only needing 5-6 hours of sleep, you would know if you are one of them. Otherwise, stick to 7+ hours (not counting time it takes to fall asleep).


You can answer the question for yourself: do you remember any of the lessons? If not, where is the point? Are you getting the reviews right? Is it fun?

If you are not really improving then you shouldn’t study just for doing it. If this is your “normal” condition, you can’t do anything about it, and you learn something from WK without feeling a burden, why not studying anyway?


I’d say no. Your sleep is more important, and while consistency is important, missing one day of reviews isn’t that bad. Catch up on your sleep, then do the reviews. For me personally, when I’m sleep deprived, I make a lot more mistakes and can’t remember the lessons/reviews as well. Obviously you won’t be able to concentrate very well. It’s just not worth it imho.


Definite nope. And I’m speaking from personal experience. The few times that I tried to clear lessons when I was tired or not really concentrating really dropped my scores.

If I can sit down and focus on a lesson session, I can easily get over 90%. But when I’m not all there, it hits 60-70%. And I can tell when it’s not going smoothly, so I’ve been stopping lessons or leaving them for later when I can really concentrate on them. It’s worked out much better that way.


Reviews? Yes. Always. If you see you’re making more mistakes than usual, use the built-in wrap-up button (it’s the left-most button in the reviews window) and wait until you’ve slept some.

Lessons? No. Wait until you’re more alert. Do them when you can.



Sleep is an important time for the brain to solidify its memories. I’d definitely recommend prioritizing getting a solid amount of sleep over studying. Sleep can help you learn better for sure.

Having chronic insomnia sounds tough, though. I hope you can find something that works for you!


Sleep is for the weak!


I second reviews yes, lessons no. Sometimes doing reviews helps me sleep because it helps me turn my mind off in a way. Lessons are in no way worth doing half-assed. You’ll just end up with a bunch of leeches in my experience.

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The second batches of kanji for my levels are often done when I’m half asleep not very fun lol. But I would suggest no lessons, you can try reviews though, although your accuracy might plummet. I guess this will also test how well the item has being ingrained in your brain.

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the real question is should you shorten your sleep time so you can post on community.wanikani


I’m sorry to hear you’re struggling with insomnia. That’s really challenging. I don’t think enough people recognize how big the consequences are of sleep disorders and general sleep deprivation, sadly.

I am some sort of currently unspecified chronically sleepy, so my situation may differ from yours but I share some understanding I believe.

I think that on a hard day you might want to skip lessons. Sleep deprivation really messes with your memory, ability to learn, and perception. You may become frustrated with the results for all the effort you put in.

I think reviews should be ok to do though. Although you may have difficulty remembering, make more typos, and misperceive some items, it’s still contributing to a steady exposure to the language. High percentages correct on reviews feels nice and all, but I think that becoming comfortable with Japanese is something that is valuable and not quite the same as having perfectly memorized kanji or vocab. Having your brain feel like its a natural part of everyday life to see Japanese, I think it can change your studies for the better. And keeping up with wanikani is easier if you make it a habit anyway.

Try not to be too hard on yourself if your insomnia disrupts your studies, it’s better to be learning slower than you’d like than to give up. :blush:


Everyone already said almost everything, but I just wanted to add that maybe instead of reviews you can do some passive learning by watching something japanese on youtube or listening to a podcast. Maybe it helps relax you a little as well (I mean so you can get some rest without actually sleeping, since you have insomnia right?).

I second not doing lessons when you’re very tired, on the other hand, it really depends on how much you feel you remember afterwards!!


Reviews: yes, absolutely, because being able to recall things when tired is important for me in terms of language goals (I want to be able to read when I’m sleepy, or at the end of my day, jet lagged, not when I’m perfectly caffeinated sitting at my desk) Also being tired and getting it wrong means its not ingrained as I want it to be, so the extra reviews don’t hurt.

Learning: NO. hell no. I don’t retain it enough to get the four hour review right, so by the time do the initial lesson, decide to sleep and get to the review whenever later I do not remember it at all. So I might as well wait to start the process fresh. Me getting the four hour review at four hours is really the most important part of my learning process. If I don’t get the four hour review- I pretty much need to start over with that kanji.

This is part of the reason why I do not do any kanji learning on the weekends. I’ll review- but my learning is to inconsistent to be useful.