Five ways to boost your memory

3. Take a nap

Do you think that enhancing your memory will be challenging? Think again; you can nap your way to a superior memory.

man with glasses asleep on a desk
An hour-long nap in the afternoon could be enough to improve your cognitive abilities.

Adults need 7–9 hours of sleep per night to maintain physical and mental health. Sleep helps us to solidify and consolidate short-term memory to long-term memory. After sleep, people tend to improve information retention and perform better in memory tests. Skipping the recommended amount of sleep, however, interferes with the brain’s ability to form new memories.

Sleep may be a trouble-free way to improve long-term retention of information. Participants of a study who slept between learning sessions could recall 10 to 16 words on a memory test, while those who had not slept only recalled 7.5 words, on average.

Other research found that in adults aged 65 and older, taking an hour-long nap in the afternoon improved performance on cognitive tests compared with individuals who did not nap.

Those who took shorter or longer naps, or who did not nap at all, exhibited declines in their mental abilities equal to what would be expected of a 5-year age increase.

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