Seems like a no brainer, right? Well, even if it is an “urban myth,” and has been experienced first-hand after chronic sleep deprivation, we still need scientific validation. I’m a skeptic, btw.
With that, the media moguls, US World News and Report and The New York Times, have published two reports of sleep benefiting memory and performance. The former interviewed researchers at MIT who study the importance of sleep for the encoding and recall of long-term memory, while the latter interviewed researchers at UCSD who study the advantages of napping saturated with REM sleep on mental performance.
Though I didn’t “oohh” and “ahh” over their findings, most of the general sleep deprived public will, and “ooh” they should has they are the victims . If you want to read “ooh” and “ahhh” research , read papers by Dr. Matt Walker’s lab at UC-Berkeley in collaboration with Dr. Rob Stickgold of Harvard who not only investigate the importance of sleep, particularly REM sleep, for encoding, recall, and associated synaptic plasticity (with much cooler methodologies), but secondarily investigate the importance of napping for emotional valence. My friend Jared is a graduate student in Matt’s lab, and they are all rockstars.