Got exams coming up? Take note- the findings of a new study have now revealed that taking short power naps lasting for around 45 to 60 minutes could have a five-fold improvement in retrieval of information from memory.
These findings have now been published in the journal Neuropsychology and have pointed out to the fact that taking short naps at office or in school could actually boost learning success significantly.
“Wherever people are in a learning environment, we should think seriously about the positive effects of sleep,” professor and study supervisor Axel Mecklinger of Saarland University in Germany, explained.
The researchers compared the memory retaining power of those who took a short nap to others who watched a DVD instead, and found that the latter performed significantly worse than those who took a nap, even when it came to recalling certain word pairs such as milk-taxi.
“The memory performance of the participants who had a power nap was just as good as it was before sleeping, that is, immediately after completing the learning phase,” Mecklinger explained.
The researchers focused on the role of the hippocampus region of the brain in particular, where memories tend to be consolidated and stored for later use.
“We examined a particular type of brain activity, known as ‘sleep spindles’, which plays an important role in memory consolidation during sleep,” said researcher Sara Studte.
Sleep spindles are basically short bursts of oscillations in the electroencephalpgram, and apparently, the stronger an individual’s memory, the great the number of sleep spindles tend to appear in the EEG.
“We suspect that certain types of memory content, particularly information that was previously tagged, is preferentially consolidated during this type of brain activity,” added Mecklinger.
The researchers conclude by emphasizing on the need of a short relaxing sleep following a concentrated period of learning for better memory and enhanced information recall.