An update on the importance of naps for learning

A little while ago I posted new research on the importance of afternoon naps for kids to remember what they’ve learned in the morning.

I received quite some reactions through Twitter and Facebook, most of the people stating that naps aren’t only good for young kids. And indeed, it’s true that sleep is important, almost more important than studying.

Some suggestions I can add to this:

  • That midday nap in class might actually help you learn more when you wake up, according to a 2002 study conducted by Harvard researchers.
  • A 2010 study explains that an afternoon nap markedly boosts the brain’s learning capacity
  • A more recent 2012 study explains that brief wakeful resting boosts new memories over the long term.
    This is the abstract:
    A brief wakeful rest after new verbal learning enhances memory for several minutes. In the research reported here, we explored the possibility of extending this rest-induced memory enhancement over much longer periods. Participants were presented with two stories; one story was followed by a 10-min period of wakeful resting, and the other was followed by a 10-min period during which participants played a spot-the-difference game. In Experiment 1, wakeful resting led to significant enhancement of memory after a 15- to 30-min period and also after 7 days. In Experiment 2, this striking enhancement of memory 7 days after learning was demonstrated even when no retrievals were imposed in the interim. The degree to which people can remember prose after 7 days is significantly affected by the cognitive activity that they engage in shortly after new learning takes place. We propose that wakeful resting after new learning allows new memory traces to be consolidated better and hence to be retained for much longer.

But why is this?As we sleep, speedy brain waves boost our ability to learn, this video explains:

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