New research has found that young adults who slept for 90 minutes after lunch raised their learning power, their memory apparently primed to absorb new facts.
Other studies have indicated that sleep helps consolidate memories after cramming, but the new study suggests that sleep can actually restore the ability to learn.
The findings, which have not yet been published, were presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Diego.
“You need to sleep before learning, to prepare your brain, like a dry sponge, to absorb new information,” said the lead investigator, Matthew P. Walker, an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley.
Dr. Walker has posted an extensive archive of his research publications here.