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Sleep. 2019 Jan 1;42(1). doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsy207.

The long-term memory benefits of a daytime nap compared with cramming.

Author information

Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore.
Division of Psychology, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.


Study Objectives:

Daytime naps benefit long-term memory relative to taking a break and remaining awake. However, the use of naps as a practical way to improve learning has not been examined, in particular, how memory following a nap compares with spending the equivalent amount of time cramming.


Young adults learned detailed factual knowledge in sessions that flanked 1 hr spent napping (n = 27), taking a break (n = 27), or cramming that information (n = 30). Recall was examined 30 min and 1 week after learning.


When tested 30 min after learning, cramming and napping led to significantly better memory than taking a break. After a week, napping maintained this significant advantage, but cramming did not.


These findings demonstrate the longer-term benefits of napping for retention of memoranda akin to what students encounter daily and encourage more widespread adoption of napping in education.

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