Naps help Memory


 Our Brains are not Designed
to Learn Non-Stop
Sleep is essential for memory & learning

©Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Sleep and Memory Series
All Rights Reserved

National Sleep Awareness Week PostMarch 2 – 9

Sleep is more important than you think

Some preschools are still considering the elimination of naptime to fit in more teaching.

According to new studies,
that is probably a lousy idea.

Researchers have already shown that, following a good night’s sleep, facts learned one day are retained better the next, in learners both young and old.

It is looking like midday naps, discovered to be essential for brain development in infants, perform the same memory-enhancing function for toddlers and young children as a good night’s sleep for teen and adult learners.

Naps appear to help memory and learning

A study published in PLOS ONE suggests that a little snooze in the middle of the day may help kids retain information they learned earlier the very same day.

[Laura Kurdziel et al., Sleep spindles in midday naps enhance learning in preschool children]

To repeat what I disclosed in an earlier article, Emotional Mastery to help us move forward:

Sleep has been proven to play a critical role in both physical and mental well being. Sleep deficiency is not only associated with physical disease, but also with a range of emotional disturbances from subtle to dramatic.

A great many important functions take place while our brains sleep — such as the healing and repair of the heart and blood vessels, as well as the brain’s housekeeping chores, when memories are consolidated and debris is swept away with the help of glial cells.

Other related neurodiversity posts:
You Don’t Want to Pay the Interest Charges on Sleep Debt
Sleeping with the Enemy: Mom’s N-24

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Preschool Z’s Make Good Memories

In the above titled article and podcast on the Scientific American site, Sophie Bushwick, a Senior Editor at Popular Science, reported on a particular study looking at how naps affected the academic performance in children between the ages of 3 and 6.

The study found that preschoolers who take a midday nap better retained recently learned information.

About the Study

Researchers taught 40 preschoolers between the ages of 3 and 6 to perform a memory task, followed by a break of several hours. After the break, the children were divided into two groups, one remaining awake or the other encouraged to nap. The nap group slept for about an hour and a quarter — an average of 77 minutes.

Later in the day, both groups were tested to see how much they had retained.

Although the brief nap appeared to make little difference in the children’s feelings of sleepiness, it did help enhance their memories. The children who had rested performed better.

Even more interesting was the finding that the children who had napped after the initial lesson retained more information the following day than those who had not.

The benefit was greatest for students who took naps regularly, by the way, not just during the study.  Which suggests, according to Bushwick, schools may want to keep sleep on the syllabus.

NOT just for Kids

A recent study reported on ScienceDaily on January 5, 2017, suggests that, upon retiring, so-called Seniors might also benefit from an hour-long midday nap.

It is looking like naps might well help deal with the short-term memory deficits accompanying what is often referred to as age-related cognitive decline.

To learn whether taking an afternoon nap had any effect on mental health, researchers examined information provided by nearly 3,000 Chinese adults aged 65 and older. Their study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Study participants who took an hour-long nap after lunch did better on mental tests, compared to those who did not nap.

Those who napped for about an hour also did better
than those who took shorter or longer naps.

People who took no naps, short naps, or longer naps experienced decreases in their mental ability that were about four to six times greater than people who took hour-long naps.

Get this: the people who did not nap, and those who took shorter or longer naps, experienced about the same decline in their mental abilities that a five-year increase in age would be expected to produce.

About the Study

Nearly 60% of the study participants reported that they napped in the afternoon, after lunch. Their naps lasted between about 30 minutes to more than 90 minutes, with the majority of them taking naps lasting about an average of 63 minutes.

The participants took several tests to assess their mental status.

They first answered straightforward questions — like the current date, the season of the year, and so forth — and then were asked to do some basic math problems.

They were also asked to memorize and recall words, and to reproduce drawings of simple geometric figures.

Finally, they were asked questions about their napping and nighttime sleep habits to put the memory data in context.

Given the size of the study compared to studies of smaller populations, these findings are extremely encouraging as to reliability.

——————
Edited Summary
from “Afternoon Napping and Cognition in Chinese Older Adults: Findings From the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) Baseline Assessment” — appearing online in the January 2017 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Implications for ALL of us

I want to point out that younger and older participant groups are the ones that have been studied. The results DO NOT indicate that naps would not be equally useful for individuals outside the age ranges reported.

I would encourage anyone who has some scheduling flexibility – college students, entrepreneurs, and anyone able to retire at a younger age, for example – take the findings above as encouragement to adjust your schedule to allow for a midday nap.

And don’t forget that “mid-day” may not be the same time for everyone.
If YOUR daily schedule is not typical, your nap timing won’t be either.

NOT what was previously thought

You probably have read or heard that napping impacts night time sleep negatively.  That is likely to turn out to be old news.  The studies above seem to indicate that a nap of no longer than approximately an hour, and in the middle of the day, has no negative effect and may well turn out to be extremely beneficial.

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IN ANY CASE, stay tuned.
There’s a lot to know, a lot here already, and a lot more to come – in this Series and in others.
Get it here while it’s still free for the taking.

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Friday Fun: Memory


I know we’ve met many times,
but what was your name again?
Let’s laugh the whole thing off

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the Friday Funnies Series

Quick Intro before we get to the Funnies

What we can and cannot recall at any particular time depends on a lot of factors . . .

our generation … our cultural imperatives … what sticks out among the familiar … the time of day and how much sleep we’ve had lately … whether we are well-hydrated — even what we ate for breakfast.

Unfortunately, the mechanics of human memory still remain a mystery to the science crowd.

They now know a great many more things, however, for example:

* THAT memories are not stored in one part of the brain alone – nouns, names & faces are stored in different areas (and some brains have trouble with ALL of them)

* THAT bits of memories are distributed — each time they are recalled they are reconsolidated anew

* THAT how we feel and think when we recall them changes memory’s bits and bytes — which is why eye-witness testimony is not reliable

* THAT more recent memories become tougher to recall as we age, even when we can vividly remember what happened much earlier in great detail, and

* THAT attention and focus (and sleep) are essential for effective long-term storage. If we are paying attention elsewhere, storage for recall is iffy (and when we don’t sleep, brain filing is a crapshoot) — even our own promises to our significant others

But that is ALL little consolation when they can’t help us with CRS:
that disabling “disorder” when we
Can’t Remember Stuff.

Related ComicWinter Food Storage

All is not lost

Source: Wrong Hands

Fortunately, there are quite a few brain-based explanations and work-arounds for memory’s glitches.

I continue to share a great many coaching tips and tricks to help with more reliable storage and recall (and I’ve included links in this post to some of my longer, more serious articles on memory).

Today, however, we’re going to temper our frustrations with a quick bit of humor.
How many of the situations below have you experienced in YOUR life?

Oh, and after today, Funnies post only occasionally

Reminding you of what I disclosed in last Friday’s introduction to this series, Funnies about Perspective: unlike the ongoing Sunday Smiles and Monday Funnies you’ll find on Chris The Story Reading Ape’s Blog, my Friday Funnies will show up only occasionally, usually clustered around a theme.

If I get the feeling that things have gotten a tad serious here in the world – or on ADDandSoMuchMORE.com – get ready for another hit of humor, most likely another Friday Funny.

YOU PLAY TOO

If you have something on your website or blog that relates to the theme, especially if it’s humorous, please feel free to leave a link in a comment. Keep it to one link per comment or you’ll be auto-spammed, but multiple comments are just fine and most welcome.

AND NOW for some more humor . . .

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Coaching for those Senior Moments


ADD/EFD or
Age-related Mind Blips?

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Reflections on memory before moving on with help

When your mind is like a steel sieve

It’s bad enough when we can’t recall a name in the middle of an introduction. It’s worse when we can’t remember where we put our keys when we’re running late — and so embarrassing when our minds drive right by birthdays and anniversaries.

We feel scatterbrained when we have to go back into the house several times to check that we turned off the lights, locked the back door, or unplugged the iron.

We feel stupid when we forget a basic fact we haven’t pulled out of our mental databases for a while – like how to divide fractions or figure percentages, or the spelling of a common word, for example.

We worry that we might be getting SENILE when we can’t recall entire events – like going to see a specific film with a certain person who is absolutely positive we were there with them, perplexed when we still don’t remember once they supply details to support their case.

If we don’t remember seeing the film at all, we begin to worry about incipient Alzheimer’s!

Memory lapses are not limited to those middle-aged mind-blips science sometimes calls “age-related cognitive decline.” It’s also awful when a student’s mind goes blank when s/he’s taking an exam after studying diligently for several nights in a row.

Question Mark in red circle; magnifying glass attempting to make it clearer.While the kids might substitute a different word for the last letter in the acronym, we all find it unbelievably frustrating when we have a CRS episode – those times when we simply . . .

        Can’t Remember Stuff !

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Predict it to Police It, Police it to PLAN it


 

Post-itsOvercoming the
Limitations of the
Post-It Note™ Brain

A Source of Struggles
in Alphabet City

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Part of ADD Coaching Skills Series

Dr. David Eagleman, author of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain, has studied time perception for over a decade.

According to Eagleman and his lab, we humans are more than passive observers where time is concerned.

We are not merely watching the river of time flow by as if time happened TO us, or we happened IN time.

As with visual illusions and perceptions, science is learning that our brains are actively constructing time.

Re-engineering Brain Resources

In Eagleman’s words, “It turns out that [time perception] has everything to do with novelty, and with how much energy your brain has to expend.

So, when you can predict something, not only does your consciousness not come online, but [the event] feels like it goes [by] very fast.

  • So, driving to work [seems] very fast; but the very first time you did it, it seemed to take a long time because of the novelty, AND
  • the amount of brain-power you had to burn the first time you did it — before you were able to predict it.

Essentially what prediction means, if it’s something you’re doing a lot, you’re actually reconfiguring the circuitry of the brain.

  • You’re actually getting stuff down into [your brain’s sub-conscious] circuitry, which gives you speed and efficiency, but at the cost of conscious access.
  • So, if you’re learning to do something new, like playing tennis or riding a bicycle or something, at first you have to pay a lot of conscious attention
  • After a while you don’t have to, because you’ve changed the circuitry of your brain — but at the cost of being able to consciously know what you’re doing.”

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Forgetting and Remembering


When Memory Fails

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
From the ADD & Memory Series
Forgetting and Remembering Part 1

Red telehone with memo

Dreamstimefree

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
There are three harbingers of Old Age:

one is memory loss
and I forget the other two.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What IS Memory, anyway?

All kidding aside, when we think about human memory loss, what is it that we think we’re losing?

The educated “man on the street” would probably say that memory is our ability to store, retain, and recall information.

And he would be right — but the kind of information we utilize memory to store, retain and recall is more complex and comprehensive than most of us realize (and it matters!)

When we “can’t remember” – when only one component of memory fails us (recall on demand) – it is not really the same as when we “forget.”

Most of the time, for most of us with CRS [Can’t Remember Stuff], the information we are trying to “remember” hasn’t been lost, we just can’t seem to recall it when we need it.

  • It is still stored somewhere in that brain of ours, and we probably will recall it later (once we no longer need it, right?)
  • It’s just that our cognitive file clerk is unable to locate it the moment we ask for it.

Most of us could come up with one or more items on the following list of the kinds of things we know we once knew but can no longer recall – which prompts us to say “we don’t remember.”

  1. Facts of various types (like names, phone numbers, birthdays, or how many pints in a quart)
  2. Intellectual or physical procedures (how to determine the square root of a number, tie a Double Windsor knot in a man’s tie, or drive a stick-shift)
  3. Experiences from our past (from our second kiss to our second-cousin’s graduation from college, as well as what transpired in our own lives immediately before, during or after momentous events in everyone’s “memory”)
  4. Elements of language (noun and verb tense agreement, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, metaphors, similes and more – including how they fit together to form a “grammatically correct” sentence that conveys exactly what we mean to communicate – as well as how to write it down and spell it!)
  5. Locations (how to get to our parent’s new house — as well as where they hide the back-up roll of toilet paper)
  6. Promises and plans (Was that TONIGHT?)

OR anything else we expect ourselves to “remember” without having to “look it up.”

And that’s just the tip of the memory iceberg!

When we speak of memory loss (or memory troubles), we could be talking about any of those arenas, and-a-whole-lot-more!

iceberg-principle


NOT Black and White

We seldom have troubles with ALL types of memory, yet we speak of our unreliable or declining “memory” in a black and white fashion, as if it affected us across the board.

The more you know about how memory is supposed to work, the better armed you are for how to remember things when yours works differently – so read on!

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TBI Recovery – like life on the high seas


I KNOW – I said I didn’t like WordPress’s “reblog” function – and I don’t (even though it’s marginally better than it was) – but it’s mostly lousy with graphics, formatting (and the fact that they stick my “introduction” at the BOTTOM of the post excerpt – truly dumb, right?).

Since BrokenBilliant’s article is mostly words I thought I’d give it a shot anyway.

Because it is so GOOD – so hopefully realistic about how an atypical brain (ADD-TBI-EFD-BPII- whatever!) is like sailing the high seas — you just can’t walk around on deck the same way you might on land.

Read it in his own words –  jump over to his site and read it with intentional formatting – but FIRST, check out the comment below — v-e-r-y interesting!

xx,
mgh

Broken Brain - Brilliant Mind

I’ve heard it said that it takes about seven years of recovery for a person to start feeling “like themself” again after traumatic brain injury. That sounds about right to me. And now that I’ve been at it (actively) since 2007, I’m coming up on seven years — next year.

What a long, strange trip it’s been. From nearly losing everything, to sabotaging job after job, to watching my friends go away, to the relationship/marriage troubles and health issues, to slowly building myself back… it has been a trip. But it’s finally starting to feel like things are stabilizing for me.

When I say “things” I mean internal things. Not external things. Learning to live with TBI is like going to sea and learning to walk across the deck of a ship that’s rolling through all sorts of seas. Between the sensory issues, the focusing issues, the distraction problems, the…

View original post 1,153 more words

Remembrance of Selves Past


A not-so-new form of
Self-advocacy

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
In support of the Walking A Mile in Another’s Shoes
and the ADD & Memory Series

Practically all of us here in Alphabet City have struggled to overcome what the neuropsychs call “short-term memory deficits.”  It hits the rest of the population as they grow older.

Not only does that make it tough to run our lives, day to day, it also has a negative effect on what we are able to remember about our pasts.

Since one’s memories become the fabric of one’s sense of self, self-esteem can only be battered by the trade winds of today if you have no reliable sense of past to keep you moored.

It also makes it difficult to explain ourselves, our decisions, and our conclusions – even to ourselves!

Many of you who battled with teachers who accused you of cheating because you had the answer but couldn’t “show your work” know just what I mean by that statement.

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Are you OUT of your MIND?


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Reframing to Rewire (First in a series)
by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Most of us take that “Are you out of your mind?” question to mean that we’ve just said or done something NUTS.  I want to stand that idea on its ear.

Image via Wikipedia

I think it would be FAR more powerful to use that phrase as a reminder to do exactly that: to GET out of our minds.

To “get out of our reactionary mind” so that we can align our actions with our intentions is more what I had in my mind, so let’s explore how we might begin to DO that.

For those of us with Executive Functioning Dysregulation, following one idea to completion is frequently an exercise in frustration and failure.

Metaphorically, our brains are rather like a tangle of string-like dendritic connections resembling a plate of cooked spaghetti.  

About the only way we can locate both ends of a single strand of spaghetti on a dinner plate is to lift it up out of the plate and away from the rest of the tangle.

After twenty plus years of investigating ADD/EFD and working with all kinds of EFD Challenges, I’ve come to believe that “getting it up and out of the plate for closer observation” is the most successful way to locate both “ends” of a single train of thought as well.

When that single-thought strand is left tangled with the other strands, we can become like Alice in Wonderland clones, looping around relatively aimlessly and getting ourselves into all sorts of odd predicaments.

Lifting that strand of spaghetti away from its tangle successfully is where the mere presence of another person makes all the difference in the world: an ADD/EFD-literate mentor, coach, or non-judgmental friend who can reframe our challenges simply by virtue of the fact that, from their vantage point, things don’t look so convoluted.

(More to come about that concept in a later post in this series)

Movin’ ON to the Rewiring

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Got Memory? – Part I


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OpenAllNiteMemory, Aging and ADD

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

My sleep disorder has me out of phase with the rest of America again.  Bummer!

Since, of late, I seem to be asleep when the rest of America is up and at’em, awake when it seems that all the world’s aslumber, there’s not much to distract me from reading and research – so I’ve been reading a lot lately!

One of the few good things about Living with JetLag™ is that there are periods of time when I can do little else but dive into books I have been too busy to read while I scrambled to catch up with everything missed “off-phase” during those precious times when I am “on-phase” with the rest of you earthlings.

A number of books have come out in the past few years exploring what happens to our brains as we age. Several are exploring “normal” changes, others are looking at brain disorders that seem to strike at middle-age, most notably Alzheimers.

Other than mentioning the link between aging and sleep struggles, which I will explore in another series of posts, the primary focus of most of the books I’m currently ingesting concerns the processes of memory: what happens when they work as expected, and what happens when they don’t.

Two I just finished are:

  • Barbara Strauch’s The Secret Life of the Grown-up Brain
  • Cathryn Jakobson Ramin’s Carved in Sand
    – when attention fails and memory fades in midlife
The timing seems suddenly right for a series of articles on memory and ADD, but before I get into the details, I need to get something off my chest.

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The Link Between Attention and ACTION


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.

Awareness is a factor of ATTENTION!

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

Black and white drawing of a womans staring intently at something slightly to her right - eyes and eybrows onlyIn order to be able to take ACTION in response to information, a person must
retain an awareness of the information.

You can’t act on information you don’t recall – and you can’t possibly remember information about which you had no conscious awareness in the first place.

Nobody can ACT on information they don’t have.

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Senior Moments?


The Heartbreak Of CRS

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC

We ALL fall victim to CRS many times throughout our lives – more and more often as we age.

  • Many opportunities for advancement and success are lost to CRS.
  • CRS devastates self-esteem.
  • Sometimes entire lives are ruined when CRS rears its ugly head.

Question Mark in red circle; magnifying glass attempting to make it clearer.While the kids might substitute a different word for the last letter in the acronym, we all find it unbelievably frustrating when we have a CRS episode – those times when we simply . . .

        Can’t Remember Stuff !

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