Science and Tech


A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

Researchers found those who napped for 45 minutes to an hour before being tested on information recalled it five times better than those who didn't.
Posted at 7:37 AM, Mar 23, 2015

Trying to cram in a bunch of information for a test you have tomorrow? How about you take a nap instead?

A new study out of Germany found a nap of 45 minutes to an hour long actually improves a person's memory. 

Researchers had 41 participants learn 90 different words and 120 word pairs that made no sense when put together. Then, half the participants took a nap, while the other half watched a DVD. 

Afterwards, all the participants were tested on what they'd learned. Those who'd taken a nap did quite a bit better recalling the information — like five times better.

The exact part of the brain the researchers were looking at was the hippocampus, where short-term memories are converted into long-term ones. 

Tech Times reports the researchers used EEG readings to study bursts of brain activity during sleep known as sleep spindles. They realized the more sleep spindles one had on their reading, the stronger their memory was when tested later. 

What's interesting is that a 45 minutes to an hour nap is pretty long, at least according to the National Sleep Foundation.

It recommends a quick nap, just 20 to 30 minutes long, to boost alertness and performance. 

But WebMD boasts the benefits of a longer nap on its website, saying a 30-minute to an hour-long nap helps with making decisions, while an even longer nap, up to 90 minutes, is useful for solving creative problems. 

To learn more about the German researchers' findings on naps and memory, read about it in the journal Neurobiology of Learning and Memory online. 

This video contains Getty Images.