A new study released today by HealthDay News reveals that taking a mid-day nap can increase your brain’s ability to remember things.
Now to me, this has always made sense. I have always been a fan of afternoon naps; I’ve never needed a study to tell me that it should be socially acceptable. However, with college graduation rapidly approaching, and the idea of leaving my wonderful part-time job to pursue a full-time one has had me doubting that I will ever be able to nap again. The idea makes me cringe.
But thankfully, yet another study has been released showing the value of the effect of sleep on our brains.
“While the findings are preliminary, new research raises the prospect that sleep, specifically a lengthy afternoon nap, prepares the brain to remember things. Think of it as similar to rebooting a computer to get it to work more smoothly,” wrote Randy Doting, a HealthDay reporter.
That’s pretty believable, right? Of course it is! Just like the non-mac laptop I am using right now that needs to re-started constantly to keep it from freezing and shutting down on its own, our brains need to refresh to keep us functioning without a glitch.
The study consisted of 39 young adults being divided into two groups. They first participated in a memory exercise at noon, which required them to link names with faces. Later, they participated in another memory exercise at 6 p.m., but 20 of the participants had napped for 100 minutes during the break.
Those who did not nap, performed 10 percent worse than those who had.
“This is further evidence that sleep plays a critical role in the processing of memories,” said study author Matthew Walker, an assistant professor at the University of California at Berkeley. “It provides more evidence that it’s not just important to sleep after learning, but you need it before learning to prepare the brain for laying down information.”
Here is, in a nutshell, what I took from this study:
- Napping midday increases your brain’s ability to remember
- Napping midday increases your brain’s ability to learn
It doesn’t matter if you’re already in the professional world or if you’re aspiring to be, the ability to remember pertinent and important facts will always be necessary, as will being able to learn new traits and techniques.
So here are the times when I think a midday nap would be beneficial. I hope they can be useful to you:
- Before a test – obviously
- Before and after prepping for a job interview – so you’ll remember your preplanned responses, of course
- After a job interview – so you’ll remember exactly how it went, and what was said (unless it goes poorly… in that case, maybe you should drink something with caffeine)
- When hitting a brainstorm roadblock – the nap could bring up some old memories and get the creative juices flowing again
- Before or after an important presentation – it’ll calm your nerves and you’ll feel refreshed (just make sure to wake up on time!)