Happy napping! How your afternoon siesta can improve your memory performance
Aside from boosting physical energy, taking a nap can improve your brain’s performance
Some people nap in order to catch up on lost sleep or to improve their morning alertness. Others like to take a power nap during their work day. Even Boris Johnson, the UK’s Prime Minister, reportedly prefers a nap during his working hours. Leonardo da Vinci, Winston Churchill, and Albert Einstein are some of the other famous nappers.
Getting a nap can help improve your mood and alertness, and it can also help you feel more rested and well-rested throughout the day.
In addition to schools and workplaces, several companies and organizations across the country have also recognized the benefits of a short nap. Aside from boosting physical energy, taking a nap can improve your brain’s performance.
Naps betters cognitive abilities
According to Sara Mednick, a cognitive science professor at the University of California, taking a nap can have varying effects depending on the duration. She noted that taking a nap can help improve various aspects of night time sleep, such as memory, attention, and emotional regulation.
How the Brain Saves Memories
According to psychiatrist Dr. Mednick, a short nap can also help keep memories in the brain’s memory centers. This happens when the neurons that are related to the memory are activated during sleep.
The hippocampus is a region of the brain that’s mainly associated with memory. According to Spencer, during sleep, the activity in the region matches the patterns of activity that were observed during a previous activity. This is referred to as neural replay. This means that the brain can replay certain events in your life.
Nap benefits vary from person to person
Although napping can provide various benefits, its effects may not be the same for everyone. For instance, a 2018 study conducted by Scientific Reports looked into the effects of regular nap duration on memory performance. The study revealed that those who took at least one nap per week had better performance in various cognitive tasks.
The duration of a nap should depend on how you want to get out of it. For instance, a 20-minute nap can help boost alertness, while a 90-minute nap can get you through the various stages of sleep.
To improve your memory performance, it’s important that you get enough sleep to reach the slow-wave phase. According to Spencer, a nap of about 45 minutes is ideal. However, you should avoid getting too late in the day or staying up late to ensure that you’ll have a hard time falling asleep.