A daytime nap improves memory and hippocampal function

21 Oct A daytime nap improves memory and hippocampal function

It’s common knowledge that achieving a good night’s sleep is important for proper daytime functioning with many benefits coming from this. One in particular is memory consolidation with previous studies confirming that memory consolidation occurs during our deep sleep. With this in mind, researchers have been looking at the effects of daytime naps on memory consolidation and hypothesize that they would also be beneficial.

Researchers at the Centre for Sleep and Cognition in the National University of Singapore have looked at the benefits underlying enhanced encoding following a daytime nap using fMRI and polysomnography measures. Participants were required to undergo an encoding session, then they were split into two groups with one requiring to undergo a 90 minute afternoon nap while the other group using that same time watching a documentary, with a retrieval session occurring that same afternoon all while being scanned in an MRI.

Results showed that memory recall was improved by 21% in the group that had the afternoon nap compared to those who did not. Furthermore, the MRI scan showed greater activation of the left hippocampus during the word-pair encoding session for those who napped which also correlated to nap spindle count. This activation in the hippocampal region shows a restoration of the region following the daytime nap and that the occurrence of these naptime spindles may contribute to improve memory.

With this new founding, engaging in an afternoon nap would be beneficial for students studying for finals, professionals solidifying new knowledge, or just the general population improving their memory function throughout the day.

To read the article in full, click here: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/340288632_A_daytime_nap_restores_hippocampal_function_and_improves_declarative_learning