Power-Naps Helps Us Remember, Study Shows

First Posted: Mar 23, 2015 12:34 AM EDT

A new study shows us that a short nap could actually help improve our memory.

Researchers at Saarland University in Germany found that even sleep lasting 45 to 60 minutes produces a five-fold improvement in information retrieval.

For the study, researchers split participants into two groups that were composed of a nap group and a control group.

The control group focused on those who watched DVDs while the others slept. Findings revealed that those in the nap group performed significantly better on remembering word pairs during a performance test.

Researchers particularly focused on the role of the hippocampus--the region of the brain where memories are "consolidated" and a process where previously stored information is transferred into long-term memory storage.

"We examined a particular type of brain activity, known as "sleep spindles," that plays an important role in memory consolidation during sleep," said researcher Sara Studte, in a news release. A sleep spindle is classified as a short burst of rapid oscillations in the electroencephalogram (EEG).

"We suspect that certain types of memory content, particularly information that was previously tagged, is preferentially consolidated during this type of brain activity," concluded Dr. Axel Mecklinger, who supervised the study.

In conclusion, the greater the number of sleep spindles shown via the EEG show how a person's memory is stronger and if they can remembers something better via how it appears on the machine--making it a good way to measure memory. 

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