It’s the easiest way to help boost your brain health. Everyone can do it…even babies. And it’s not just a relaxing way to recharge… Doing it every day can improve your learning and memory.
Researchers in Germany gave subjects 90 single words to study. They also assigned 120 unrelated word pairs to memorize. So instead of “milk-cow,” they used ones like “milk-taxi.” This helped give more accurate results, since it eliminated familiarity. Each participant then took a memory recall test.
After finishing the test, half of the participants did this relaxing activity for up to 90 minutes. The others watched a movie. After, they performed a second memory recall test. The results? Subjects who did not watch a movie were five times better at remembering the word pairs. That means their associative memory improved.1
It wasn’t that the movie made the one group’s memory worse… It’s that the other activity led to a major increase in cognitive performance. It took even less effort. Yet it’s something we all wish we could do more of.
What simple activity am I talking about?
The study found taking a quick nap sparked activity in the hippocampus. It’s a small region of the brain that plays a big part in strengthening your memory. Researchers saw an increase in what they call sleep spindles. These bursts of brain activity during sleep help regulate memory consolidation.2 And not just for things like word pairings….
Earlier research revealed an increase in sleep spindles helped enhance emotional memory.3 This means they help you remember things you have an emotional tie to… Things like your wedding anniversary or grandchild’s birthday.
A nap may not fit in to your nine to five work schedule… And even if you can fit one in, you might skip an afternoon nap. You may think you’ll feel more tired when you wake up. Or that it’d make you less productive. But the health benefits of catching more Z’s outweigh the cons.
We’ve told you before that a lack of sleep can double your risk of a heart attack and stroke. Losing sleep can also lower testosterone by 15%. But getting more may help keep you from developing Alzheimer’s. That’s because your brain uses the time you spend sleeping to flush out toxins. This includes amyloid-beta. It’s a protein associated with the disease.
So when that mid-day fatigue sets in—and if your schedule permits—lay down for a snooze. Experts suggest 45–60 minutes a day is all you need to help improve brainpower.
In Good Health,
Publisher, INH Health Watch