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An after lunch sleep could boost brain power and creativity

sleeping-childAn article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has given details of a small study of 40 youngsters into the effects of a post-lunch nap.

The study by University of Massachusetts Amherst researchers has revealed that a siesta after lunch saw children perform significantly better on visual-spatial tasks, a benefit that continued into the following day.  It is more accurate to call this a siesta rather than a nap, since it involved an hour’s sleep after lunch.  Children allowed to do this later recalled 10 percent more information than the control group which had not slept.  The brains of the sleeping children were monitored and showed increased activity relating to regions linked with learning and the integration of new information.

It is well established that the brain reprogrammes itself and reassigns memories during the rapid eye movement phases of dreaming sleep.  This seems to present some evidence that a similar daytime effect occurs during a daytime snooze to improve cognitive abilities afterwards.

I have anecdotal support from my own experience that lends support. For many years now it has been my habit to take a nap after lunch.  It is by no means an afternoon siesta because it is very short.  I lie down and fall asleep without setting an alarm.  It is never less than 8 minutes or longer than 25, and nine days out of ten it is exactly 12 minutes before I wake up fully refreshed and alert.  I know this because of a digital clock alongside.  I make no conscious effort to do this; it just happens that way.  So reliable is it than even if I have a meeting to attend in half an hour, I can sleep knowing that I will awake in time.  My friends and colleagues say I am more productive and creative after this nap, but I have never attempted to have this assessed or measured.  It seems that way, but this is not the same as hard evidence.  However, this new study on young children suggests that it might assist their development if a post-lunch sleep were routinely included in their day’s programme.


One Response

  1. It’s an age thing old boy. Energy burn out when you are young and mental burnout when you are old….er. I am sitting comfortably writing this and feeling warm and rather like an afternoon snoooooze zzzzzzzzzzzz z z z z z !!!!!!!!!

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