If you are still trying to get out of fibro fog, daytime napping could help! A team from the University of Geneva in Switzerland conducted a study to investigate the effect of daytime naps on the brain. It was found that taking short naps in the day can help to improve brain functions and boost memory. Specifically, a daytime nap can help to improve learning when it is connected to rewards.
How do daytime naps help?
When you sleep, the links between the 3 portions of your brain responsible for cementing memory and processing rewards are strengthened greatly…
If you are rewarded during learning, it helps your brain to retain new information, and daytime naps amplify this feature. Lead author Kinga Igloi, a postdoctoral researcher from the Department of Neuroscience, stated that during sleep the brain has the power to be selective and cement knowledge with rewarding values. It develops an adaptive approach to gather information to preserve and use it in times of need.
How was the study conducted?
The aforementioned study comprised of 31 healthy volunteers who were divided into sleep and wake groups, in a random fashion. Participants from each group had to look at and memorize 8 pairs of images, and were informed that 4 of which would garner a bigger reward if remembered correctly. A 90-minute break followed, where the sleep group had a daytime nap, while the wake group just rested. The group was tested immediately about their memory of images, and asked to record their confidence levels on giving the right answer. The same process was repeated 3 months later.
What were the results?
It was pre-determined that volunteers reacted similarly to rewards, thereby eliminating that factor as interfering with the outcome. The memory test after the 90-minute break resulted in the sleep group performing better on an overall basis, but both groups were at par when it came to the most highly rewarded picture pairs. But 3 months later, the sleep group excelled in the latter test and was shown to be more confident than the wake group. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) proved that people in the sleep group had more activity in the hippocampus – a small area of the brain critical for forming memories. This phenomenon sent “slow spindles” into motion, which helps to consolidate memory, as well as a powerful link between hippocampus and two other areas of the brain involved in memory consolidation and reward processing: the medial prefrontal cortex and the striatum.