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Friday, June 25, 2010

Naps Boost Memory If You Dream

Sleep has long been known to improve performance on memory tests. Now, a new study suggests that an afternoon power nap may boost your ability to process and store information tenfold -- but only if you dream while you're asleep.

'When you dream, your brain is trying to look at connections that you might not think of or notice when [you're] awake,' says the lead author of the study, Robert Stickgold, the director of the Center for Sleep and Cognition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, in Boston, Massachusetts. 'In the dream...the brain tries to figure out what's important and what it should keep or dump because it's of no value.'

In the study, Stickgold and his colleagues asked 99 college students to memorize a complex maze on a computer. The researchers then placed the students inside a virtual, 3-D version of the maze and asked them to navigate to another spot within it. After doing this several times, half of the participants took a 90-minute nap while the other half stayed awake and watched videos. Read the entire article and view video.

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2 comments:

  1. does dreaming during nighttime sleep produce the same benefits?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Guess you'd have to ask the researchers.

    ReplyDelete

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