Does an afternoon nap boost brain learning power?
Research at University of California suggests that the brain may need to sleep to process short-term memories, creating “space” for new facts to be learned. Monitoring of brain electrical activity in subjects suggested that this happened in Stage 2 non-rapid eye movement sleep, between deep sleep and dreaming sleep and was measured during a 90 minute daytime “siesta”. Dr Matthew Walker reported “It’s as though the e-mail inbox in your hippocampus is full and, until you sleep…..you’re not going to receive any more mail”. Other experts are less sure that there’s a learning boost and it’s about not being tired “…if I have to learn something, for example, it’s easier to do this when I’m feeling awake and alert than when I’m sleepy” suggested Professor Derk-Jan Dijk, director of the Surrey Sleep Research Centre.