Six minute nap 'may boost memory'

Even the shortest of catnaps may be enough to improve performance in memory tests, say German scientists.

Just six minutes "shut-eye" for volunteers was followed by significantly better recall of words, New Scientist magazine reported.

"Ultra-short" sleep could launch memory processing in the brain, they suggested.

One UK researcher disagreed, saying that longer sleep was needed to have an impact on memory. Dozens of studies have probed the relationship between sleep and memory, with clear evidence that body's natural sleep-wake cycle plays an important role. The team from the University of Dusseldorf wanted to see just how short a sleep could have any discernable impact. They used a group of students who were asked to remember a set of words, then given an hour's break before testing.

During that hour, some of the students were allowed to sleep for approximately six minutes, while the rest were kept awake. Remarkably, on waking, the napping students performed better in the memory test.

Some theories suggests that the processing of memories takes place in deep sleep, a phase which does not normally start until at least 20 minutes after falling asleep.

Source - BBC

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