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Learning while you take a nap

A new study from Harvard Medical School found that napping, and dreaming in particular, can be very effective to learn. We know already for a long time that sleep improves performances on memory tests, but now a new study puts forward that an afternoon nap might improve the ability to process and store information. There is one remark though; you have to dream while you are sleeping. 99 college students participated in the study and were told how to navigate a complex maze on a computer. Afterwards, half of the participants were allowed to take a 90 minute nap while the other half stayed awake. Nappers did better than the students who stayed awake, but what’s more important is that the students who dreamt about the maze, performed 10 times better than the other nappers. This does not say that you get a better memory by dreaming, it proves that when we are asleep, we try to work out the problem unconsciously. Especially when we find something difficult. So if you think that sleeping is a waste of time, dream on!

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