Why ‘Sleeping On It’ Really Works…

There are many reasons why you can choose to nap, whether you’ve been up since the crack of dawn or you have a long night ahead, but have you ever thought to take a nap to help you decide something? Well, after looking at some of these studies you might find it useful to 'sleep on things' a little more often…

So if you’re looking for a way to justify your daily nap, or you tend to be indecisive, keep reading...

The Research

A study by the University of Bristol found that just a short amount of sleep allows the brain to process unconscious information, things you didn’t even realize you’d learned consciously. This is why sleeping can help you come to conclusions you wouldn’t have if you were awake. The study included 16 participants undertaking two tasks where half took a 90-minute nap while the other half stayed awake, and their brain functioning was tracked throughout. 

One of the tasks included implicit cues whereas the other was controlled. They found that the group who took the 90-minute task performed better in the task which included implicit clues throughout after they’d had a nap. This means that their brains processed the cues when they were asleep, so they were able to work out the problem, whereas the ones who stayed awake couldn’t process these implicit clues.

So next time you can’t quite decide on something, sleep on it! Napping improves your cognitive function, meaning you can improve your ability to shift your thinking to concepts you couldn’t while awake and you can make judgments based on the information provided, and come to a better decision. 

What are the other benefits of napping?

Napping (and sleeping in general) can massively improve your memory as well, as processing the information allows your brain to retain it for future recall.  

The Independent reported that a 2015 study published in Neurobiology of Learning and Memory concluded that a 45- to 60-minute nap can improve memory by 5 times. If you’re in a learning environment, sleep can be critical to the amount of information you can digest and process.

This is because our memory can intake the information you’ve learned and store in your long-term memory so it’s easy to recall later. So if you’ve just learned something new, especially if it’s difficult, sleep as soon as you can so your brain can process it.

Our Verdict 

So now you know, there’s nothing lazy about taking an afternoon nap. Next time you're struggling to make a decision or take in a lot of information, try having a nap and see how you feel afterward. You might realize you come to a conclusion you hadn't thought of before.

So regular nappers, rejoice! You have the perfect excuse to hit the hay whenever you wish. You can thank us later. 

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