Daytime Naps and Massage Could Aid Memory and Learning
Sleeping for 45 to 60 minutes during the day can help improve learning and memory by up to 5 times according to a study published in the journal Neurobiology of Learning and Memory.
While this is not the first time napping is being linked with enhanced memory performance, the latest study seeks to reveal exactly how naps affect the brain to trigger this outcome.
Alex Mecklinger, the lead author of the study and his team of researchers, requested 41 participants to take part in the project that led to the new revelations.
Memory and Reading
The researchers revealed 90 single words and an additional 120 unrelated pair of words to the participants and requested that each subject memorizes the words.
According to the researchers, the unrelated pair of words was shown to reduce the likelihood that the participants may remember the words if they used them frequently in their daily engagements.
Mecklinger explains that showing the participants familiar words would have taken away the essence of the research. He adds that by using a strange combination of words such as milk-taxi, the volunteers would be forced to use the particular memory of the related episode in the hippocampus.
Later on, the participants were subjected to a memory test to see how many words they would recall. Twenty-one participants were then asked to take a nap of up to 3 hours and the rest told to watch a DVD.
The team then studied the brain activity of the sleeping subjects through electroencephalogram (EEG) with a particular emphasis on sleep spindles. Sleep spindles are activities that take place in the hippocampus, the brain’s region that is essential for the consolidation of memory.
Mecklinger and his team say that they suspected that during sleep spindles, certain types of occurrences consolidate in the hippocampus.
After 3 hours of sleep and watching the DVD all the participants were subjected to the same memory test to see how much each group could remember.
The team established that the subjects who napped for about 40 to 60 minutes remembered the word pairs by fivefold compared to their counterparts who watched the DVD. The researchers further noted the memory of the group that took a nap was as good as it was when they first undertook the test.
The team also says the improved memory recall and learning are directly related to a higher number of sleep spindles in the EEG. It is, therefore, correct to argue that sleep spindles play an essential role in improving memory, the researchers conclude.
On top of that, Mecklinger and his researches claim that massage can help active cells in your brain and by extension, improve your memory as observed in all the participants.
Foot massage, to be specific, triggers an increased flow of blood throughout your body, improving your overall alertness. Sounds interesting, right? Sure. And now, you can view a great collection at Free Your Spine of the best foot massagers on the market. And the beauty of it is that you don’t have to leave a hole in your wallet to own one. Nice!