Value of Naps
This is a delightful essay from the New York Times about the value of naps for us all. My mother, who was one of the last true Victorian ladies, swore by them. Every day, almost no matter what, she took off her shoes, lay down on her bed, pulled up an afghan or quilt and napped for half an hour. I actually don't know if she ordinarily slept, but she certainly insisted on the quiet time. When I was a small child, sleepless at nap time, I found this very irritating, as my parallel nap was strictly enforced. Once, when my cousin, Jim, was visiting, I moved the hands on the Baby Ben alarm clock to indicate that the dreaded 30 minutes had passed. I told Jim what I had done, and he, to my shock, immediately tattled on me to my mother. (With an adult perspective, of course, I realize she would have figured it out herself pretty quickly.)
Here's the essay and, on the off chance that you have a daily routine that permits a nap, I hope you take one.
February 23, 2010
Behavior: Napping Can Prime the Brain for Learning
By RONI CARYN RABIN
Bring back the siesta.
It turns out that toddlers are not the only ones who do better after an afternoon nap. New research has found that young adults who slept for 90 minutes after lunch raised their learning power, their memory apparently primed to absorb new facts.
Other studies have indicated that sleep helps consolidate memories after cramming, but the new study suggests that sleep can actually restore the ability to learn.
The findings, which have not yet been published, were presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Diego.
"You need to sleep before learning, to prepare your brain, like a dry sponge, to absorb new information," said the lead investigator, Matthew P. Walker, an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley.