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Caught napping?

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SHORT AND SWEET A brief nap enhances recall
SHORT AND SWEET A brief nap enhances recall

Falling asleep on the job can improve your memory

Falling asleep on the job for a few minutes can improve your memory and mental performance, according to a team of German researchers. Dr. Olaf Lahl at the University of Dusseldorf, Germany, has shown that simply falling asleep does more than refresh the brain; it can improve recall and mental efficiency. In fact, a six-minute nap can have the same effect as night-time sleep on memory. Lahl’s team asked students to memorise a list of vocabulary and tested their ability to recall the list after an hour of playing solitaire. Volunteers were asked to remember a list of 30 words. They were then given an hour’s break before the memory test.

During the break, some volunteers were allowed to nap for six minutes, while others had to stay awake. The researchers found that those who napped displayed “superior recall” in the memory test compared to those who stayed awake.

“This demonstrates that an ultra-brief sleep episode provides an effective memory enhancement,” writes Lahl in Journal of Sleep Research. — dpa

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