If you are like most people, you probably think a full night’s sleep is the best thing for you. Studies show you may be wrong and data suggests short sleep cycles improves memory. A short nap in the afternoon can work wonders to improve your memory.
Compelling Evidence for Nap Time
Two stages differentiate sleep: slow-wave sleep (SWS) and rapid-eye movement (REM). In the past, research focused on REM sleep. But, more recent studies point to SWS sleep as more important for memory consolidation.
According to experts, learning and memory take place in 3 stages. Acquisition is when the brain receives new information. Consolidation is when the brain makes the new information stable. And recall is when the brain can access the information after it is stored. Both acquisition and recall typically occur during wakefulness, but consolidation takes place when you are sleeping.
Similarly, a Harvard study suggests memory and boosted performance occurs while dreaming. Another study showed that short naps, or short sleep cycles improve memory. Short naps are usually about 45 minutes long. If you don’t have time for a 45-minute nap, six-minute micro naps are also beneficial to memory, according to a German study.
Conversely, scientists have found that poor sleep has negative effects on long-term memory and can also trigger Alzheimer’s disease. The beta-amyloid protein believed to activate Alzheimer’s is also the same one that attack’s the long-term abilities of the brain. Studies show that sleep washes away toxic proteins, like the beta-amyloid protein.
The compelling evidence that short sleep cycles improve memory should inspire more nap times. Not taking naps may do more harm than good. So, do yourself a favor, and schedule yourself some quick mid-day shut eye.