If you’ve ever been a student, you’ll know how to nap.
Strangely enough though, if you mention that you’re a fan of the afternoon nap, you’ll come across at least one person who looks down on you, possibly even calling you lazy. But let me tell you this…it really is good for you! Here are just a couple of the numerous benefits. Let’s get ready for some science…
It improves memory
In an article published this month, researchers at Saarland University had 41 volunteers learn a set of single and paired words. Once they had learned the words, half the group went off for an hour long nap whilst the others watched a DVD (it’s a hard life, being a test subject). The two groups were then re-tested and the group that had had the sleep remembered far more of the words than the DVD group.
This research group were particularly interested in the hippocampus – the part of the brain that handles memory formation. They believe that during sleep spindles, which are little bursts of activity in the brain during sleep, play a role in ‘setting’ or ‘labelling’ newly acquired information and forming a memory.
The full article can be found by following this link.
It relieves stress
In an American sleep study, 85 students were put into one of two groups. One group could have an hours daytime sleep whilst the others couldn’t. The researchers had the students fill out questionnaires about sleep quality and also had them carry out cardiovascular reactivity tasks, which included mental subtracting exercises. Whilst the students were doing this, the team measured blood pressure and pulse rates.
They found that daytime sleep seemed to have a restorative effect, with students sleeping group reporting lower scores of sleepiness than those who did not sleep at all during the day. Blood pressure and pulse rates rose in both groups between baseline and the stress phase but, during the recovery phase, those who were allowed to nap had much lower blood pressure than those who weren’t allowed.
So, if you’re feeling the heat of exam revision, take a nap! It’ll calm you down and you may even remember a thing or two before you go in for a test! There are of course numerous other benefits from napping, and I have found you a great infographic from Fatigue Science, take a look!