Most people have encountered times in life that require remembering and processing large amounts of information. Whether it was studying in college, or the first week of a new job, becoming bombarded with information overload is stressful! What is one to do? Try sleeping on it. Studies have shown that power naps can be good for memory performance, yet the most recent finding reveals that it’s all in the dreams.
“When you dream, your brain is trying to look at connections that you might not think of or notice when [you're] awake,” says the lead author of the study, Robert Stickgold, the director of the Center for Sleep and Cognition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, in Boston, Mass. to CNN. “In the dream … the brain tries to figure out what’s important and what it should keep or dump because it’s of no value.”
The study involved navigating through a maze in a 3D virtual world. Participants were divided into nap-takers and those who stayed awake. When the test was re-administered five hours later, the nappers performed better than the non-nappers, but those who dreamed about the maze performed 10 times better than the other sleepers.
So instead of pulling all-nighters and continually reviewing information, give your brain a chance to make those connections while you sleep.
Not only will it help you remember, but apparently it will help you perform better as well.
“If you’re not good at something, and you dream about it, you seem to get better at it — especially if the information can be used in different situations,” Michael Breus, the clinical director of the sleep division for Arrowhead Health said in the article.
The benefits were found even after one minute of sleep, so go ahead and indulge in that power nap. It’s more powerful than you think.