Do you take naps? In his talk, Why is Sleeping so Important to Learning?, David Eagleman mentioned his colleague Sara Mednick and her book Take a Nap? Change Your Life! If you visit her site you can get the gist of her research by listening to her Google Author Talk or reading this sample chapter The Nap Manifesto. Simply put, to paraphrase Eagleman, Kindergarten and the Europeans got it right, but what about the rest of us!
According to Eagleman, a twenty minute nap will:
- increase alertness
- speed up motor performance
- improve accuracy
- improve perception
- help us make better decisions
In addition to the above benefits of power naps, research shows that napping helps improve retention of information. Eagleman stated that the closer sleeping and napping come to the information to be learned, the greater the consolidation. This is why studying before sleep works.
However, staying up late to study or cram is not going to be useful, especially if the studying is for a test the next day. This is because a sound night’s sleep is important to consolidate memories and hence to consolidate learning. Obvoiusly, there has to be a balance. In my next post we’ll move from napping to sleeping.
Still want to be convinced about the power of a power nap?
- BBC News: Sleeping on the job
- Leonardo da Vinci, Catnapper Extraordinaire
- lifehacker: Cheat Sheet for Power Naps – follow the link to the nap.jpg
- National Institutes of Health: “Power Nap” Prevents Burnout; Morning Sleep Perfects a Skill
- metronaps: FAQ about Power Naps (by Sara Mednick)