To Boost Your Memory, Take a Nap

Researchers find a 45- to 60-minute snooze is a big help
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2015 8:18 AM CDT
To Boost Your Memory, Take a Nap
This guy may be consolidating his memories.   (AP Photo/Lebanon Daily News, Ryan Blackwell)

A new study supports the idea that nap time shouldn't only be for kids. Researchers in Germany found that subjects who napped for 45 to 60 minutes were five times better at a memory task than those who watched a movie instead, MarketWatch reports. The memory task involved recalling 90 single words, as well as 120 unrelated pairs of words—phrases like "milk taxi," a researcher says in a press release. The idea was to avoid phrases that people might remember due to familiarity with a concept. "A short nap at the office or in school is enough to significantly improve learning success," the researcher notes.

To figure out why, the researchers studied the activity of the brain while a person is asleep. They found that the hippocampus, which helps to consolidate memories, seems to get a boost while we're dozing, the Huffington Post reports. The upshot: "Wherever people are in a learning environment, we should think seriously about the positive effects of sleep." As Carolyn Gregoire asks in the Huffington Post: "Are you listening, corporate America?" (Another study suggests the process is at work long before we head to the office: Babies' memory formation appears to be linked to naps.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.