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Study Finds That an Afternoon Nap Can Improve Memory and Make You Smarter

Nap Time: It's Like Kindergarten All Over Again

I hated it when my preschool and kindergarten teacher cued us to take out our nap mats — why nap when there was coloring to be done? Before I blame them for ruining my chance at becoming the next Picasso, it looks like they might have been on to something: a new study suggests that an afternoon nap might make you smarter.

Pitting nappers against non-nappers, researchers gave a group of 39 healthy, young adults a memory test before and after a 90-minute nap. When taking the memory test the second time, the non-nappers' scores dropped an average of 10 percent. Meanwhile, the nappers did even better the second time around. The University of California, Berkeley researchers also found that how much sleep the nappers got was much less important than the type of sleep they received. The more "stage 2 non-REM" sleep the participants had — a lighter form of non-dreaming sleep — the better they did.

Apparently, our brains get clogged during the day with information overload and taking a nap helps it recharge. After a brief resting period, it's able to consolidate the information it's picked up through the day, while also clear itself to be more adept at learning new information. While many of us don't have 90 minutes to snooze during our lunch break, even a 15 to 20 minute nap can help too.

Spectra Spectra 7 years
I cannot nap for the life of me. Once I'm up for the day, I'm up. Even if I'm really tired, I just can't doze off. I guess I'm just one of those 7-8 hour a night solid sleepers.
socalbeachgal socalbeachgal 7 years
I just wish corporate America would adapt a nap policy. I feel better when I have a short nap mid-day on the weekends.
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 7 years
I can't get to sleep at night if I nap during the day. Even if it's just 15 minutes. My body just doesn't do naps unless I'm absolutely exhausted. :(
SaraJeanQueen SaraJeanQueen 7 years
Yeah this is interesting... I dated a nurse and he said that anytime you sleep for longer than 20-30 minutes, you go into REM sleep and when you wake up, your body clock starts over and is confused about your sleep cycle. He said short naps are great but long ones are bad in the middle of the day...
misskacie misskacie 7 years
I swear by 20-minute naps either around lunchtime or 4pm-ish, and have for years. I get 8 hours of regular sleep but I am totally off-kilter all day without naps (although meditation works well too). Anything longer gets me too deep into my sleep cycle and really WRECKS the rest of my day. I'm not ashamed to admit I'll do it in my car during work breaks. Totally worth it!
inlove23 inlove23 7 years
Napping = death. That's pretty scary! Ah! My sister sleeps 24/7 I'm surprised she's not a genius.
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