Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Isn't That Convenient?

Recently eaten: cinnamon streudel bread
Recent annoyance: forgetfulness

Well, doesn't that work out neatly for you, Dr. Olaf?

Falling asleep on job can improve memory, study shows
Hamburg, Germany - Falling asleep on the job for a few minutes can improve your memory and mental performance, according to a team of German researchers. Dr. Olaf Lahl at the University of Dusseldorf, Germany, has shown that simply falling asleep does more than refresh the brain - it can improve recall and mental efficiency.

In fact, a six-minute nap can have the same effect as nighttime sleep on memory.

Dr. Lahl's team asked students to memorize a list of vocabulary and tested their ability to recall the list after an hour of playing solitaire.

Volunteers were asked to remember a list of 30 words. They were then given an hour's break before the memory test. During the break, some volunteers were allowed to nap for six minutes, while others had to stay awake.

The researchers found that those who had been allowed to nap displayed "superior recall" in the memory test compared to those who stayed awake.

The researchers said this was the first time that a very brief sleep has been shown to improve memory.

"To our knowledge, this demonstrates for the first time that an ultra-brief sleep episode provides an effective memory enhancement," Lahl he writes in the Journal of Sleep Research.

His researchers found that it was possible that falling asleep triggered a process in the brain that continued regardless of how long the person stayed asleep.

"It seems much more is happening during the initialization of sleep than we once thought," Dr. Lahl says.

"Maybe much of sleep's functional aspects are accomplished at its very beginning," writes in the article.

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