Late night studies, gallons of coffee followed by anxiety attacks were the study tools for student’s day before exam. Students don’t worry , there is a better tip for scoring … Take a short nap … The Researchers at Saarland University in Germany have found that a power nap of just 45 minutes can boost memory by five times. A short doze helps you to retain information you have learned and significantly improves recall, scientists said, meaning naps really could help students revising for exams.
The scientists said that during sleep, bursts of brain activity known as sleep spindles, a rapid series of peaks on EEG, play an important role in consolidating newly learned information.
For the sleep study, the researchers tested the memory of 41 volunteers who had been asked to remember specific words and word pairs. Then, half of the participants took an hour long nap while the others watched a DVD. Afterward, they were retested for their memory of the words. In addition to revealing that those who enjoyed a little snooze performed five times as well as those who hadn't, the results showed that the volunteers' post-nap memory was just as good as it had been before the nap.
The researchers examined brain activity to determine how naps seemed to improve memory. The hippocampus, a brain region known to play a role in memory consolidation, transfers learned information into long-term memory storage after the information is learned. Electroencephalogram (EEG) tests revealed that the brain's activity during sleep seems to supercharge the hippocampus's ability to consolidate information.
Professor Axel Mecklinger said a nap of just 45 minutes to an hour ‘produces a five-fold improvement in information retrieval from memory’
‘A short nap at the office or in school is enough to significantly improve learning success. Wherever people are in a learning environment, we should think seriously about the positive effects of sleep,’ says Axel Mecklinger.
“Strictly speaking, memory performance did not improve in the nap group relative to the levels measured immediately after the learning phase, but they did remain constant. A concentrated period of learning followed by a short relaxing sleep is all that's needed.”
Lack of sleep is known to increase the risk of some diseases like heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Sleeplessness at work is a big problem. Studies have affirmed that short naps can improve awareness and productivity. Napping can be seen as a quick reboot or boost for the brain. When you take nap longer than 30 minutes, you end up in deep sleep, that’s why you feel groggy and almost more tired while you take long naps.
The researchers still don't know why some memories are strengthened during a short nap while others aren't. Short naps were not associated with improvement in item memory, the ability to remember phone numbers, for example, or a friend’s name, the team says. According to the researchers, these findings suggest that a short nap can significantly boost associative memory, ability to recover a memory associated with a place or event, a link between items that are unrelated, such as the name of a person we have just met.
The most natural time to take a nap is in the afternoon sometime between 2 and 4pm. The advantages of napping include:
- Increased alertness and focus
- Higher energy levels throughout the day
- Increased motor performance (such as reaction time) and reduced mistakes and accidents
- Decreased moodiness
Taking the right kind of nap depends on your goals. For the office a 10-20 minute offers light sleep, giving you a boost of energy, while an hour-long nap, which involves slow-wave rest, consolidates memory, good for students.
As our day wears on, even when we get enough sleep at night, our focus and alertness degrade. The naps are a great way to relieve stress and to boost mood and productivity. A nap can rekindle your alertness and have your neurons back up and firing on high in as little as 15 to 20 minutes. This research suggests that a little midday shut-eye can bring a dramatic improvement in our ability to retain information.
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