Extra hour is good for brain
BRITS able to enjoy an extra hour under the duvet today after the clocks went back at 2am could also benefit from health and cognitive bonuses, according to sleep experts.
According to Professor Matthew Walker, director of the Centre for Human Sleep Science at Berkeley, California, a small boost to our slumber can also improve memory and increase learning capacity.
Prof Walker said: “Just 60-90 minutes of additional sleep boosts the learning capacity of the brain, significantly increasing memory retention of facts and preventing forgetting.”
In a study published six years ago in Current Biology, Prof Walker and a team of other researchers, demonstrated that during a memorising task, test subjects who were allowed extra nap time performed better than those who were not.
They found the brain’s ability to learn was linked to sleep spindles – which are fast pulses of electricity generated during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which accounts for 25% of total sleep time in adult s.
Spindle-rich sleep, which is said to occur in the second half of the night, helps with the brain’s ability to create new memories by “clearing a path to learning”.
But it’s not just about improved brain power. Experiments conducted in 2013 by the Surrey Sleep Centre and the BBC showed a link between an extra hour in bed and genetic expression that helps protect against illnesses.