We know the importance of sleep for our overall health and the many benefits we get from a good night’s rest. While it is essential that we allow our bodies to rest and recover at night, having a power nap in the daytime can supercharge your energy levels and improve your memory.
Over the years, research has established that having power naps of just 45 to 60 minutes during the day can greatly improve your mental and physical health. You no longer need to feel guilty for having a kip in the day, as these short sleeping periods are actually good for you.
Memory retention is beneficial to everyone no matter what field of work you are in or if you are studying in school or university. For some people it is easier to learn new things and have an immediate grasp and the ability to retain new information. For others it can be a little more challenging, they have to actively listen and study to make sure they will remember new information.
In research obtained from the Saarland University in Germany, a graduate biologist specializing in neuropsychology (Sara Studte) along with the assistance of help of her professor, PhD supervisor Axel Mecklinger and co- researcher Emma Bridger, it was established that power naps of 45 to 60 minutes could improve memory preservation fivefold.
Published in the journal Neurobiology of Learning and Memory- 20 March 2015, the study had 41 students test the effectiveness of power napping.
The students were requested to remember 90 words and 120 unrelated word pairs then were split into two separate groups. One group was given a DVD to watch and the other told to have a nap. The results were that when both groups were tested, the group of students that had the nap better performed in their recollection of the words they had learnt than the non- napping group.
The overseer of the study, Professor Mecklinger a neuropsychologist from the University said, “A short nap at the office or in school is enough to significantly improve learning success. Wherever people are in a learning environment, we should think seriously about the positive effects of sleep.”
Now that there is scientific evidence that napping can turbocharge your memory, here are a few tips on how to effectively apply this:
1. Find The Right Time
For the best time to power nap, try napping in the afternoon between 13:00 and 16:00. If it is at all possible, make your nap a scheduled activity in your day to get the best effects of memory retention. You should also try and test what is the best amount of time you need to nap. For some people, a short nap of 30 minutes works best, a long nap could leave others feeling dazed and moody.
2. Have A Nap Snack
Before you head off to take a nap, try eating a nap snack like cheese, almonds a glass of milk and whole grain bread. These foods have sleep inducing properties that will make you fall asleep faster, which is especially important if you are in a time constrained work environment.
3. Wake Up Call
As you would do for your regular sleep and early morning wake up, you should also make sure you have set an alarm or asked someone to wake you up from your nap to prevent you from oversleeping.
4. Nap in Silence and Comfort
You need to sleep in a quiet place or with earphones playing white noise so that you will not be distracted by anything in your sleep. You should also sleep with a blanket or be warmly dressed as our bodies lose temperature when we sleep. Another thing you should do is find a comfortable spot to take your nap. If you can lie down that is great, but if you find that laying your head down on a desk is comfortable for you, then enjoy your nap in that manner.
If you can develop better productivity patterns and remember things more, then the stigma of having an afternoon nap should not bother you any longer. By just reading the findings of the study above, you should confidently be taking naps because it is a sure way to supercharge your memory!
Written by Busi Nhlapo