Do you play Elevate (the app that calls itself “your personal brain trainer”) daily? Do you eat memory-boosting foods as per the brain diet? Do you find yourself Googling “memory loss” and all things pertaining to that search term on a less than sporadic basis? We’re really hoping you answered “yes” to at least one of those questions because we don’t want to be the only ones. In short, like many people, we’re concerned about our memory. Every time we misplace a pen or realize we never sent that last email, we curse our spotty memory and vow to find a solution. Turns out German scientists may have already done that for us—keep reading to find out the simple trick for improving your memory!
It’s simple—nap. Yep, you heard right. Researchers at Saarland University in Germany have discovered yet another reason to revisit the preschool pastime you may have dreaded at the time, but grew to love with age. Participants in the study learned 90 words and 120 random phrases, and then were asked either to relax and watch a DVD or to sleep. You guessed it—the group that napped recalled significantly more words and phrases. In fact, compared to non-nappers, they showed a five-fold improvement in short-term memory. But here’s the catch: This was no 20-minute power nap; instead, it was 45 minutes long. As if finding time to unplug during the day wasn’t hard enough, now it has to be a full 45 minutes? Before you deep sigh and stop reading, scroll down. There are several other benefits of napping that can be reaped with a quick power nap.
Most napping studies report on the benefits 15 to 30 minute snoozes. And while those past studies’ results may not be as impressive as the one above, there’s no denying the power of the power nap. Research has shown that napping improves a range of brain functions, from focus and productivity to creativity and alertness. Napping has also been shown to lower stress and improve mood. Long-term health benefits like lower blood pressure, inflammation, and rates of heart disease have also been linked to regular nappers. Sneaking in a 20-minute siesta a few times a week (car naps, anyone?) could take your job performance and your health to the next level. If only your preschool self had known what she was missing.
Are you a napper? Spill your siesta secrets below!