Daytime Nap May Boost Memory
Napping May Give the Brain a Chance to Reinforce New Memories, Sleep Experts Say
Feb. 1, 2008 -- Take a daytime nap, and you might wake up with a sharper
memory. That's what happened in a new napping study that involved 33
First, the students took three different tests of their short-term
In one test, they had to learn and remember pairs of unrelated words, such
as "alligator" and "cigar." In another test, they had to
navigate and remember a maze shown on a computer screen. And in the last test,
the students had to copy a complex drawing onto a sheet of paper, and then
sketch the drawing from memory.
Next, half of the students napped for about 45 minutes, while other students
watched TV. Finally, all of the students repeated the three memory tests
Napping boosted scores on the word-pair test, but not the other two
A closer look at the test scores shows that on all three tests, people with
the highest scores before napping were the ones with the biggest gains in their
post-nap test scores. So if they didn't really absorb information before their
nap, naps didn't magically make the information sink in.
Matthew Tucker, PhD, and William Fishbein, PhD, report their findings in
today's edition of Sleep. Tucker and Fishbein work in the psychology
department of the City College of the City University of New York.
(What do you think of folks
"napping" at work? Do you ever take naps? Talk about it on WebMD's
Health Cafe message board.)