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Based on research by Studte, Sara, Bridger, E., and Mecklinger, A. (2015) written by Mara Rowcliffe, MS.
Did you know that taking a nap can improve memory? Many studies show sleeping 45 to 60 minutes enhances memory performance compared to staying awake.
German neuropsychologists wanted to find out more, whether sleep enhanced both recognition memory (i.e., remembering having seen the items before) as well as associative memory, (i.e., remembering the relationship between unrelated items).
Participants included 70 young adults given word recognition and associative memory tests where they were shown word-pairs and then immediately tested on their ability to match the word with its associated pair. For 90 minutes, half the group took a nap while the others watched DVDs. Then repeated tests measured recognition and their ability to match the same word pairs again. Results showed that those individuals who had napped performed as well on the recognition and associative memory tests as they did immediately after learning the words. However, those who stayed awake performed worse on the associative memory test, where they needed to remember the relationships between items.
Associative Memory is key to problem solving. In high stress situations or before an exam, take even a short Power Nap! Go for it! This may enhance your sharp memory.
Studte, S., Bridger, E., & Mecklinger, A. (2015). Nap sleep preserves associative but not item memory performance. Neurobiology of learning and memory, 120, 84-93.