Don’t Wake Me, I am Learning

Nap time: If I learned nothing else in my college career, I learned the unequaled value of the nap. Many times I returned from class, dropped my book bag by my desk and promised I would study as soon as I had a “quick nap”. For a sleep-deprived student, the value of a nap trumped all else (admittedly, some of my college friends might argue that a nap doesn’t trump EVERYTHING, but they aren’t writing this blog). And indeed, after a refreshing twenty minutes of sleep, I could tackle my books with renewed enthusiasm. My roommate had a different approach. She would often fall asleep while studying stretched out on her bed.  I used to tell her she must learn by osmosis.

Now I see that a report presented on Sunday, February 21 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Diego might offer validation to what college students have been saying for years: daytime naps might boosts the brain’s power to learn. Dr Matthew Walker from U.C. Berkeley suggests that our brains might need sleep to process short term memories (i.e., newly learned things) and thereby make room to learn new things.

Perhaps we need to add a new item to our list of standard school supplies. Pencils? Check. Notebook? Check. Pillow? Hey, why not, you want to learn don’t you?

Related Links

  1. Nap ‘boosts’ brain learning power BBC News online (accessed February 23, 2010)
  2. Role of Sleep in Memory from Development to Old Age.  (AAAS Anual Meeting, presented February 21, 2010 )

Blogger’s Disclaimer: Even a nap will fail to instill enthusiasm for all subjects (calculus in my case). Some things you just have to slog through. A nap might help you remember things; nobody said it would make you like them.

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Kelly Grooms

Kelly Grooms

Scientific Communications Specialist at Promega Corporation
Kelly earned her B.S. in Genetics from Iowa State University in Ames, IA. Prior to coming to Promega, she worked for biotech companies in San Diego and Madison. Kelly lives just outside Madison with her husband, son and daughter. Kelly collects hobbies including jewelry artistry, reading, writing and knitting. A black belt, she enjoys practicing karate with her daughter as well as hiking, biking and camping.

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