NAPPING Can Facilitate Motor Memory Consolidation

We've all heard of the merits of power naps, but are there good and bad ways to sleep during the day?

But evidence is growing that napping can produce cognitive benefits from increased alertness to improve motor skills, perception and memory consolidation.

So How do you get the best from a brief bit of Shuteyes?

In a study published last year , researchers found that both nocturnal and daytime sleeping improved memory consolidation for unrelated word pairs - like 'Pepper' and 'Elbow' - Suggesting it can help if you're trying to learn tricky - to - remember concepts.

Another study, conducted at the Beijing University of Technology, examined the effect of napping on athletes after training. It found that naps could improved brain function and visual systems , and promote physical and mental recovery - a result that is in line with earlier research demonstrating that napping can facilitate motor memory consolidation.

In study published in 2008 , the university of California's Sara Mednick - author of Take Nap! Change your life - and her colleagues compared the benefits of 200mg of caffeine ( about the amount of in a cup of coffee ) with a 60 to 90 minute daytime nap on various memory tasks.

They found that a nap generally improved memory performance , while caffeine either didn't affect - or worsened - performance .
The researchers suggest that caffeine blocks consolidation of new material into long - term memory by increasing levels of a neurotransmitter called acetyl choline in the hippocampus ( the same neurotransmitter that naturally decreases during slow wave sleep ).

The promised benefits of sleep have even persuaded a few firms allow their employees to nap at work .Earlier this year , software company Hub Spot designed a napping room in its Massachusetts office that features a hammock and dim lighting. Employees are free to book the space without limitations.According to Hub Spot's Alison Elworthy , the policy is a huge success , especially helpful for new parents who are making up for disrupted sleep at night , or employees recovering from jet lag. " People are really excited to use it and haven't avoided the policy at all." She says.

Earlier this year BBC Capital reported that napping policies led to slacking off and procrastinational some companies, and a 30% drop in productivity at one Toronto - based tech start- up.

Even so, Mednick claims that about 40% of the population are habitual nappers - meaning they feel the need for, and benefit from, a regular afternoon Snoze.

So if you're a natural napper , what is the most effective way to nap?

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