Hippocampus study reveals power naps boost memory five fold
Many of us complain that they no longer remember many things and that forgetfulness seems to be afflicting them. It is true that memory loss has become a common issue affecting almost every second person in the society.
Researchers claim that the pressure we feel from our professional and personal lives might have made us sleep depraved. Most people donâ€™t get enough sleep on permanent basis. For an average adult, he or she should take at least seven hours of sleep.
None the less sleeping for seven hours is a luxury that not many of us can avail.
But improving your memory may not be such a difficult job. A latest study has concluded that merely a short naps during the day can boost memory performance by up to five times. Even a short sleep lasting 45 to 60 minutes produces a five-fold improvement in information retrieval from memory, according to the study published in Neuropsychology.
Researchers are of the opinion that a short nap at the office or in school is enough to significantly improve learning success. â€œWherever people are in a learning environment, we should think seriously about the positive effects of sleep,â€ said professor and study supervisor Axel Mecklinger of Saarland University in Germany. In the study, the control group watched DVDs and performed significantly worse than the nap group when it came to remembering certain word pairs such as milk-taxi.
It is needless to say that researchers are excited. â€œThe memory performance of the participants who had a power nap was just as good as it was before sleeping, that is, immediately after completing the learning phase,â€ Mecklinger said. The researchers were particularly focussed on the role of the hippocampus – a region of the brain in which memories are â€œconsolidatedâ€, that is, previously learned information is transferred into long-term memory storage.
While detailing the findings of the study Sara Studte says, â€œWe examined a particular type of brain activity, known as â€˜sleep spindlesâ€™, which plays an important role in memory consolidation during sleepâ€. A sleep spindle is a short burst of rapid oscillations in the electroencephalogram (EEG). The stronger a personâ€™s memory of something, the greater the number of sleep spindles appearing in the EEG. â€œWe suspect that certain types of memory content, particularly information that was previously tagged, is preferentially consolidated during this type of brain activity,â€ added Mecklinger. A concentrated period of learning followed by a short relaxing sleep is all that is needed to enhance information recall, the study said.