CogniFit's Science blog: The Simplest Memory Exercise You Will Find…Napping!

The Simplest Memory Exercise You Will Find…Napping!

A nap a day will keep dementia away! Doctors have frequently recommended people get a solid eight hours of sleep a night to stay fresh, alert and healthy. But new research shows midday naps can have a tremendous effect on the mind and memory as well. Who would have thought getting in some zzzzz’s would be considered a memory exercise.

Following your body’s internal clock is crucial when it comes to having a healthier brain and body. There is nothing quite as good as a nap just after a heavy lunch to reenergize. Even if it is just for 10 or 15 minutes, it can do wonders for your body and mind. It will increase your learning capabilities, lower your blood pressure, decrease the risk of heart attacks all while enhancing the memory.

How is this even possible you may wonder? Researchers have discovered that taking a break sometime in the middle of the day gives your memory banks a chance to organize. Think of it as a filing session so you are better organized and equipped in the second part of the day.

The study that was conducted by the University of California at Berkeley put 39 adults through a grueling learning task while testing them on it at noon. 2 hours later the students were divided into two groups; half stayed awake while the other took a 90-minute nap.

Skip ahead to 6 pm and both groups returned to test again. As you may have guessed, the group that snoozed were better off physically and mentally as they performed 10% better on the test than earlier. The other group actually saw a 10% decline because of the lack of sleep.

This does go without saying that not everyone in the nap room got the same quality of sleep or length of nap. Those who had fewer eye movement sleep actually performed the best out of everyone.

The bottom line is a nap makes for the perfect memory exercise. Our body needs rest to rejuvenate and prepare for the difficult tasks to come. Forcing ourselves to stay awake or fight through the drowsy stage will only lead to a decrease in results no matter what the activity may be.

A lot of people will say they simply do not have time to take a nap because of work. This may be true for some, but most are given a lunch hour at some point during the day. And rather than running errands or talking on the phone, get in the habit of eating a nutritious lunch and catching some zzzz’s for 10 to 15 minutes. It will pay off down the road for your mental health.