Trouble focusing at work or remembering what you need to do? A 45-minute power nap might be all you need.
New research has found that a nap of 45 to 60 minutes long can “significantly” improve a person’s recall — a five-fold improvement in memory, in fact, according to a Daily Mail report.
A team of researchers at Saarland University in Germany had 41 people undergo a test: they were to learn 90 single words and 120 unconnected pair words that would be difficult to associate together, such as “taxi” and “milk.” Some of them were able to continue studying the words by watching a DVD, while the others were sent straight to bed for a quick nap of no more than 90 minutes.
Then, the researchers retested the patients, and they came to some surprising conclusions: the sleepers remembered things better, while the studiers fared poorly.
Why is this? Scientists believe it’s because there are sudden bursts of activity in the brain that are referred to as “sleep spindles,” which happen before our brain shifts into deep sleep. These sleep spindles play an important role in how we learn information, researchers believe according to the report.
Just a 45-minute to 60-minute nap can produce a five-fold improvement in information retrieval. Just don’t sleep too long, as if your brain enters deep-sleep mode, if it is woken up you will feel more groggy than you did before.
While those who slept did not learn more than they did immediately after the learning phase, the retained that information. That means if you are in a learning environment, it may be best to consider the benefits of sleeping even if it might seem odd or counterproductive to you. A quick sleep break after a concentrated period of learning may do wonders for your learning abilities.