Attention, Students ! Naps boost memory, but only if you dream

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  • #1
rhody
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By Denise Mann, Health.com
April 22, 2010 12:56 p.m. EDT


With finals coming up for many, I wish I was aware of this when in college.
If you try it, and it really helps, (I don't know how you make yourself dream) please report back.
"When you're in school -- especially college -- there's this ongoing sense that you haven't done enough," he says. "Maybe you didn't make it to a lecture, or you had a paper due in three days that you hadn't started, so you're laying down memories that say, 'I haven't done anything that I need to do.'"

When someone has the exam dream (or nightmare), he says, "Your brain is taking the knowledge of what happened to help you behave differently in the future."

You may be able to harness the dream power displayed in the study to perform better in your everyday life, Breus says.

Health.com: How to sleep easier and avoid midday fatigue

"If you're studying something tough, get the basics down and take a nap. If you dream about it, you will probably understand it better," he says. "Or, go to bed a little earlier the night before, wake up early, review the material, and then take a quick nap to solidify your understanding."

That's good advice, says Dr. Rafael Pelayo, an associate professor of sleep medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, in Palo Alto, California.

"Instead of cramming, study intensely, catch a nap, and then maybe do some more studying," he says. "A nap may be a good tool to enhance your ability to remember information."
Rhody...

Edit:

MATH_IS_HARD reported a similar effect a few years ago on PF: "[URL="https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=125203"[/URL]
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
Dembadon
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I'm not much of a napper. I have a hard time falling asleep when there are things I could be getting accomplished.

On days when my schedule is light, I'll still avoid taking a nap even if I feel sleepy; whenever I nap, even if it's only for 30-60 minutes, I end up being wide awake until some ungodly hour in the evening/morning.
 
  • #3
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I'm not much of a napper. I have a hard time falling asleep when there are things I could be getting accomplished.

On days when my schedule is light, I'll still avoid taking a nap even if I feel sleepy; whenever I nap, even if it's only for 30-60 minutes, I end up being wide awake until some ungodly hour in the evening/morning.
That is bad for your memory, the amount of exercises or reading done is not what matters but how much of it you retain afterwards.
 
  • #4
Dembadon
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That is bad for your memory, the amount of exercises or reading done is not what matters but how much of it you retain afterwards.
Not everything on my "to-do" list requires memorization, nor are they always related to school.

I'm talking about life in general. Napping when I could be cleaning our garage, working in the yard, keeping our cars in good running condition, etc. is difficult for me to do. I realize there are intellectual benefits, but it's the loss of time that makes it hard for me. Some have said that I'm oversubscribed/too ambitious with my time. Perhaps they're right; however, I've always seen it as an opportunity to improve my time management skills. :smile:
 
  • #5
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Sometimes, napping can be a bad thing. Getting a nap may make it more difficult to fall asleep on time at night, preventing you from getting 8 hours straight at night. At least when I take a midday nap, I have trouble going to bed at night.

A better solution which accomplishes the same thing is to study at night, but get to bed at a reasonable hour and sleep a full 8 hours.
 
  • #6
rhody
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http://www.projo.com/education/content/SCHOOL_START_TIME_SLEEP_07-06-10_BTJ3V3C_v18.1687c8e.html"

Interesting experiment:

When the head of St. George’s School proposed starting the school day a half-hour later, many were skeptical.

Eric F. Peterson, the head of the private boarding school in Middletown, just wanted St. George’s students to get more sleep. But his plan faced resistance.

“The initial reaction was, ‘What difference can 30 minutes make? The kids will just stay up later,’ ” Peterson said. “I felt, what harm could 30 minutes more do?”

The school, which includes grades 9 through 12, decided to try the later time just as an experiment. According to the plan, from Jan. 6 to March 6, 2009, school would start at 8:30 a.m. instead of 8.

But the effects of that extra half-hour were so swift and dramatic that the 8:30 a.m. start time has stayed in effect. And a local sleep researcher’s documentation of those effects are being published in the July issue of the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine — adding to growing evidence that later school start times have measurable benefits for teens.

Adolescents stay up later at night because of biological changes that make it harder to fall asleep until late, abetted by a wealth of modern-day distractions. But they need as much sleep as younger children, resulting in chronic sleep deprivation.
and
It’s striking, however, that despite the improvements, St. George’s students were still sleep-deprived after the time change. The average school-night sleep time increased from 7 hours, 7 minutes to 7 hours, 52 minutes. But the typical adolescent needs 9 hours to 9¼ hours of sleep every night. Only 11 percent at St. George’s slept 9 or more hours after the time change.

Before the start-time change, 85.1 percent of the students reported struggling to stay awake or falling asleep during class. Afterward, that dropped to 60.5 percent — a significant change, but one that still leaves more than half the students feeling sleepy in class.

“It underscores this really terrible epidemic that we have in this country of inadequate sleep across the board and particularly affecting our teenagers,” Owens said.
and
Parents can help by minimizing the time needed to prepare for school in the morning; keeping televisions, computers and other electronics out of the bedroom; limiting naps to a half-hour; and considering reducing your teen’s after school activities.
It seems that naps may work for college aged kids to some extent, but for elementary school kids the result of this experiment are striking to say the least, and from this study naps are to be short for younger kids, no mention of dreaming either.

Rhody...
 
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  • #7
I don't see how this is surprising, when what little is understood about sleep and dreaming seems to point to it being critical in the organization of information for later retrieval. This Calvinist ethic of modern schools is baseless in its application, which is running counter to virtually all evidence to the benefits of proper sleep, and the dangers of NOT getting that sleep.
 
  • #8
rhody
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I don't see how this is surprising, when what little is understood about sleep and dreaming seems to point to it being critical in the organization of information for later retrieval. This Calvinist ethic of modern schools is baseless in its application, which is running counter to virtually all evidence to the benefits of proper sleep, and the dangers of NOT getting that sleep.
I agree with you. To me, the funny part is that the educator's who control the what, when and content of class day/curriculum read the research that suggests changing class times and length can have desired effects on children's performance in the classroom, and, as an "experiment" implement it. Low and behold, the suggested benefits are there to be seen, recorded, measured and compared to performance under the old circumstances. The results speak for themselves.

Rhody...
 
  • #9
I agree with you. To me, the funny part is that the educator's who control the what, when and content of class day/curriculum read the research that suggests changing class times and length can have desired effects on children's performance in the classroom, and, as an "experiment" implement it. Low and behold, the suggested benefits are there to be seen, recorded, measured and compared to performance under the old circumstances. The results speak for themselves.

Rhody...
Unfortunately the results compete with interests other than the health and education of our children. The welfare of children continues to be one of those terribly gray areas in my view, and that of adults not too far off. Consider the history of the "Go" and "No-Go" pills in the USAF, which has now evolved into Modafinil and beyond. Sleep is somewhat poorly understood, yet we have no qualms about tinkering with it in profound ways for dubious gains and "character building".
 
  • #10
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I agree with you. To me, the funny part is that the educator's who control the what, when and content of class day/curriculum read the research that suggests changing class times and length can have desired effects on children's performance in the classroom, and, as an "experiment" implement it. Low and behold, the suggested benefits are there to be seen, recorded, measured and compared to performance under the old circumstances. The results speak for themselves.

Rhody...
It wasn't the half an hour later start that made it, it was the whole thing trying to convey the concept of sleep being important.
Look at this:
sleep time increased from 7 hours, 7 minutes to 7 hours, 52 minutes
Basically, sleep time was increased by 45 minutes, 15 minutes more than the later start! As you can see just looking at the short term effects is worthless, you need to do a thorough study where you look at different schools different starting times and how it effects the kids sleeping schedules, this one doesn't really say much at all.
 
  • #11
It wasn't the half an hour later start that made it, it was the whole thing trying to convey the concept of sleep being important.
Look at this:

Basically, sleep time was increased by 45 minutes, 15 minutes more than the later start! As you can see just looking at the short term effects is worthless, you need to do a thorough study where you look at different schools different starting times and how it effects the kids sleeping schedules, this one doesn't really say much at all.
I don't see how an extra 15 minutes obviates the results at all...
 

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