Can a Cat Nap Boost Memory?

It’s only three o’clock, but last night’s tossing and turning has you so drained you’re contemplating sneaking into a dark conference room for a little cat nap. If you feel like fatigue is affecting your concentration, you’re not alone.

But will a quick nap actually give you the boost you need to power through the day – or is it all just a dream?

Well, dreaming is the key, apparently. Sleep researchers say that a power nap may be able to promote normal brain processes such as memory storage and recall, but only if you dream.

Dreams offer your brain a way to review and categorize information, which is an important factor in memory. Test subjects who were asked to solve a complicated maze did better after napping – but those who actually dreamed about the maze performed 10 times better than those who didn’t.

If your boss won’t get behind the idea of a mid-day nap, here are some other ways to maintain healthy   brain function:

  • Yoga/meditation – If you’re experiencing information overload, a peaceful break may help you regain your focus.
  • Exercise – Done on a regular basis, physical activity is important for circulation and cognitive health.
  • Nutrients such as omega-3 EFAs and ginkgo biloba may support normal cognitive and brain function.
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