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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Does Napping Boost Benefits of Brain-Training for Working Memory?

  • Author(s): Narender, Rainita
  • Salazar, Dakota
  • McDevitt, Elizabeth
  • Seitz, Aaron
  • et al.

Working memory (WM) is engaged in most cognitive tasks deployed in the human brain. Braintrainingregimens that target WM may promote plasticity, leading to improved WM skills.Additionally, sleep is known to facilitate consolidation of newly learned information and skills. Here,we asked if napping could boost benefits of brain-training for WM. Participants completed ten days ofWM training on an N-back task; on each training day, a subset of participants were given a 30-minutenap opportunity (with EEG recording) immediately following their training session (training+nap).In Study 1 (n=10), we equated the amount of training (20-min training/day) in all participants andcompared training only to training+nap. In Study 2 (n=8), we asked if napping can effectively replaceadditional time spent training; we compared training+nap (20-min training/day) to double training(40-min training/day). On average, the nap group slept 16.0±5.77 minutes/nap in Study 1 and15.98±7.44 minutes/nap in Study 2. Our dependent measure of performance was the highest N-levelachieved on each day of training. In both studies, we found that performance improved across theten days of the study. However, there was no day x group interaction in either study, suggesting thatthe degree of improvement did not differ between training only vs. training+nap groups. In Study 2,there was a trend towards more improvement with double training compared to single training+nap.For people looking to dedicate time each day to improving their WM, it may be more beneficial tospend the entire time training rather than training+napping.

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