How Napping Significantly Boosts Brain Health

Your brain needs time to consolidate your memory, and it does so as you sleep.

Andrew Lian
Published in
4 min readMar 16, 2022


Photo by Kate Stone Matheson on Unsplash

According to a survey from the Pew Research Center, an estimated one-third of the adult American population nap on a typical day.

As useless as napping may seem, it turns out those who do nap may experience better learning and memory recall when compared to those who don’t.

Research done over the past few years shows that sleep before and post-learning is beneficial for human memory performance. In fact, napping has more benefits for your memory and cognition than you might think.

A recent study looking at the impact of sleeping on memory has suggested that short 100-minute naps may restore learning ability and memory recall. The researchers recruited 44 participants who were tasked with memorizing 100 names and faces and were later tested on their ability to recall the information.

After, half of the participants were allowed to take a 100-minute nap, while the rest stayed awake and resumed their daily activities.

Both groups —the no-nap and nap groups— were tested again on their memory at the end of the day by memorizing another 100 names and faces.

The scientists found that the participants who didn’t nap performed 12% worse on their second memory test, showing that their learning ability naturally degraded as the day went on.

However, those in the napping group experienced a memory boost instead. Participants performed on average 10% better on their second test than the no-napping groups and control groups.

Participants who didn’t nap performed 12% worse on their second memory test.

The reason for such a drastic increase in memory performance was due to the stage of sleep the participants in the napping group entered. The researchers observed a positive correlation between stage-2 NREM sleep and the nap group’s learning ability.

There are two main phases of sleep: REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep. NREM sleep is the first phase of sleep that consists of 3 different stages. The…



Andrew Lian

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