College student Sarah Raifsnider says napping improves her grade point average. In fact, she says she'll take a 20 minute power nap before a test to restart her day. And the university she attends is all for it. The University of California, San Diego recently held its first ever 'nap-in'.
Doctors say our country is sleep deprived, and nappers get a bad rap. School officials want to change that. Sleep expert Sara Mednick is a big fan of napping. She has written a book on it, and she has research to prove it can keep you more alert than coffee.
"We have a new study actually that shows that we compared naps to caffeine on three different kinds of memory tests. And we find that naps made people perform better and caffeine made people perform much worse even in placebo," said Dr. Mednick.
She says while a 20-minute nap can rejuvenate you, a 90-minute nap can also improve memory and motor skills. The study shows people with REM sleep are more able to use in a creative way information they've seen earlier to solve problems. The study also show you might now have to sleep at all to get some useful "shuteye."
"In some cases, we're showing that sleep is actually active process that's helping your brain learn. And in other cases, it appears that it's not necessarily sleep but it's the lack of doing something. So even a case like meditation or sitting quietly can be as helpful," said Dr. Mednick.
So when you get a minute - or 20 or 90 - kick back and take a nap. It does your brain good.
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