Finding it difficult to get six hours of sleep daily? Then, try taking frequent power naps to boost your memory and recover from the effects of sleep deprivation.
It’s known that sleeping less than six hours a day can hamper your memory by disrupting brain functions, but the exact mechanism underlying this remains unknown.
Link between Sleep and Memory
- Sleep helps us to access memories by improving our recalling abilities.
- Our brains rehearse important information during sleep.
- Lack of sleep can have an adverse impact on your brain functions.
A new study by Pennsylvanian researchers has found the various pathways in which sleep deprivation impacts the brain functions. Another surprising finding is that these effects can be restored, if you get a recovery sleep for few hours.
Brain neurons send signals to each other through synapses. Any loss of connectivity between synapses can affect memory. So, researchers examined the structure of dendrites; extensions of nerve cells that receive impulses from other synaptic cells in the brain.
Earlier studies have proved that five hours of sleep deprivation can impact memory. So, they examined the dendrite cells of mice which had been sleep deprived for five hours.
Researchers found that there was a decrease in the length of dendrites in the hippocampus region of the brain. Hippocampus is responsible for memory and any damage to its structure is the precursor for many psychiatric disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and autism.
Power Naps Counteract Sleep Deprivation
The scientists then made the sleep deprived mice to sleep for three hours without any disturbance, a period known to restore deficits due to lack of sleep. When they again examined the dendrites of these mice, they found that the damage was reversed and was same as observed in mice without sleep deprivation.
They further examined whether structural changes in the hippocampus triggered the secretion of a hormone called cofilin. Cofilin can cause damage to dendrites cells and shrink neurons in the brain.
They found that hippocampus changes due to sleep deprivation triggered cofilin, but the damage caused by it was reversed with restorative sleep.
Benefits of Power Naps
If you have time for a power nap, then never miss it as it can do wonders!
- An ideal power nap should be between 10-30 minutes.
- Power naps recharge our body and boosts memory.
- It increases cognitive abilities, energy and performance.
- It is best to follow a power nap routine.