Catch some Zs and achieve As

19th June 2009 at 01:00

Pupils who fall asleep during lessons or blame their alarm clock for being late may have luck on their side in future.

Instead of giving pupils a lecture on what they missed when dozing off, should they instead be encouraged to have a snooze?

Research led by Professor Sara Mednick, a psychiatrist at the University of California, claims that we are able to think more "laterally and quickly" after having a nap.

Those who took part in the study were shown multiple groups of three words and asked to find a fourth word that could be associated to all three.

Later that day, after being allowed to sleep during the day, they were given the same and new tasks, while being monitored using brain scans to see what type of sleep they entered.

This time, the scientists believe that the period of Rapid Eye Movement, which happens just before we wake up, contributed to better results.

Professor Medrick found that, when approaching a new problem, REM sleep heightened creativity, whereas existing problems could be solved over the passage of time.

Which brings us to a whole new excuse for not handing in homework: not having "the right kind of sleep".

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