‘Brain booster’: Dr Michael Mosley on the relaxing activity for ‘better memory’

Fitness & Health:

“It’s early afternoon, about 2pm, and I’m just getting out of bed,” said the doctor on his podcast Just One Thing. The doctor didn’t stay up late the night before; he was only taking a nap, which he dubbed as a “brain booster”. “I’ve actually been doing something that could improve my memory, help me learn new information, improve my productivity as well as my wellbeing,” he said.

Dr Mosley invited Dr Sara Mednick, sleep researcher, to help explain the link between “better memory” and napping.

The researcher shared that naps could be just as potent as a full night of sleep when it comes to their effects.

Dr Mednick said: “Basically, you can get the same memory benefits, you can get emotional regulation benefits, you can increase attention, and of course, decrease sleepiness.


“If you compare people who napped versus [those] who didn’t nap, they show better memory.”

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From better navigational skills to emotional memory, the benefits of naps are plentiful.

Based on a study she conducted, Dr Mednick explained that “the most important” thing is the quality of your slumber.

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She told Dr Mosley: “We’ve investigated 30-minute naps, 60-minute naps and 90-minute naps and it’s actually the quality of the sleep.

“That’s the most important as you first fall asleep.”


Dr Mednick added: “Those slow waves have been shown to be important for what you traditionally think of as memory.

“[For example], remembering a novel you’ve been reading, remembering information for a history exam.”

However, if you don’t have that much time to nap, a 20-minute reset could be also helpful.

Because of the plentiful benefits that come with napping, Dr Mosley suggested to swap your usual cup of coffee for a little rest next time.

He said: “Why not take advantage of this mid-afternoon slow down to have a little shatter, a short half hour?

“Those can have big benefits for your cognitive skills and your productivity.”

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