Taking An Hour-Long Power Nap Can Seriously Help Boost Your Memory

by Sean Levinson

Power naps have been revealed as effective tools for strengthening memory.

According to Daily Mail, researchers at Germany's Saarland University determined that napping for about an hour tremendously improves a person's ability to recall recently absorbed information.

The team taught 90 single words and 120 word pairs to 41 participants.

Word pairs involved unrelated words like "milk" and "taxi" because recalling them requires more intricate use of the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain where memories are thought to become solidified into long-term status, Medical Daily reports.

Participants' memories of the words were tested before the individuals were split into two groups.

One group took a short nap while the other watched a DVD.

A second test was administered to all participants afterward.

Those who napped were able to recall more word pairs than the others, suggesting the naps boosted their associated memory.

Other examples of associated memory include remembering the names of completely new acquaintances, the scent of a perfume or a person's favorite selection at a newly discovered restaurant, according to The American Psychological Association.

Study leader Dr. Axel Mecklinger said in a press release,

The control group, whose members watched DVDs while the other group slept, performed significantly worse than the nap group when it came to remembering the word pairs. The memory performance of the participants who had a power nap was just as good as it was before sleeping, that is, immediately after completing the learning phase.

Researchers eventually concluded that sleeping between 45 minutes to an hour boosts a person's capacity to retrieve information by five times.

Dr. Mecklinger added,

A short nap at the office or in school is enough to significantly improve learning success. Wherever people are in a learning environment, we should think seriously about the positive effects of sleep. Enhancing information recall through sleeping doesn't require us to stuff bulky tomes under our pillow. A concentrated period of learning followed by a short relaxing sleep is all that's needed.

This study was originally published in the journal Neurobiology of Learning and Memory.

Citations: A Power Nap In School And The Office May Help You Retain Learned Memory Better (Medical Daily), A power nap of just 45 minutes can boost the memory five fold (Daily Mail), Associative Learning and the Hippocampus (The American Psychological Association)