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Recent studies have shown strong connections to how long one sleeps and their cognitive functions. There was a study done recently which is one of the most extensive done regarding how sleep duration affects cognitive function and the results showed that having more or less than seven or eight hours of sleep will have an impact on cognitive abilities. It was discovered by neurological researchers from Western University, Canada, that oversleeping can negatively affect your function as much as not enough sleep in some cases.

According to this huge study, too much sleep is not a problem for most people as the global average is just 6.3 hours per night. This sleep deficit can be a strain on us and cause our bodies and brain to function at a lower level than it should.

However, another study published in the Journal of Sleep Research, completed by researchers at the University of Bristol in England, concluded that a power nap has the ability to improve cognitive function. Allowing for better processing of information.

The study tested whether subjects would perform better at subconscious mental tests with or without a power nap. The test would involve remembering something which was hidden out of plain sight but was being registered by the subjects subconscious. 16 healthy people were involved in this study, two groups were involved, one group performed the test which included two tasks while staying awake the whole time, the other group took a 90-minute nap in between tasks. Brain scans were used to record how the subconscious mind reacted during the test to gather the results.

It turns out that the group who took the nap had improved processing speeds during the task showing that they learned information at a subconscious level. However, the control group who had no nap showed no such significant improvement. The researchers concluded that short bursts of sleep will improve one’s ability to process information while they are awake.

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References:

Netasha Shaikh and Elizabeth Coulthard. “Nap‐Mediated Benefit to Implicit Information Processing Across Age Using an Affective Priming Paradigm.” Journal of Sleep Research (First published: July 23, 2018) DOI: 10.1111/jsr.12728

Conor J. Wild, Emily S. Nichols, Michael E. Battista, Bobby Stojanoski, Adrian M. Owen. “Dissociable Effects of Self-Reported Daily Sleep Duration on High-Level Cognitive Abilities.” SLEEP (First published: September 13, 2018) DOI: 10.1093/sleep/zsy182

Takeru Honda, Soichi Nagao, Yuji Hashimoto, Kinya Ishikawa, Takanori Yokota, Hidehiro Mizusawa, Masao Ito. “Tandem Internal Models Execute Motor Learning in the Cerebellum.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Published online ahead of print: June 25, 2018) DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1716489115

Cathrin B. Canto, Yoshiyuki Onuki, Bastiaan Bruinsma, Ysbrand D. van der Werf, Chris I. De Zeeuw. “The Sleeping Cerebellum.” Trends in Neuroscience (First published: April 18, 2017) DOI: 10.1016/j.tins.2017.03.001

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