Latest News » Improve memory support with a power nap, according to new study

A mid-day power nap can make all the difference for not only your mood but your memory too.

If you're feeling fatigued or groggy in the middle of the day, taking a quick nap is an easy way to recharge your batteries. But new research finds that taking mid-day power naps yield an even better benefit: they work to improve memory support, expanding your brain's ability to store and recall information.

A study conducted by Saarland University in Germany and published in Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, evaluated 41 volunteers who were tasked with remembering specific words or pairs of words, then split into two groups, one of which was assigned to an hour-long nap while the other was given a DVD to watch. After the time on both of these activities had elapsed, the subjects were tested on their ability to recall those words or word pairs. Not only did the group of people who napped perform five times better than those in the DVD group, they also demonstrated a memory span after their nap that was just as good as before it.

Following this realization, the research team conducted electroencephalogram (EEG) tests on the patients' brains, finding that sleeping for even just an hour helped to "supercharge" the hippocampus region's ability for consolidating and transferring information into memory storage.

"The hippocampus, when awake, re-actives the neural firing pattern that was also active during learning," the study's lead author, Saarland neuropsychologist Dr. Axel Mecklinger, tells the Huffington Post. "This replay may produce 'tags' which are then used for [memory] consolidation during sleep."

This finding is just one of many brain health benefits associated with getting enough rest. Sleeping the recommended amount of seven to eight hours each night has been found to improve cognitive thinking, mood and concentration while also reducing instances of fatigue, irritability and potential health risks like stroke and heart disease.

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