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Power Naps Help Us Focus: But More So for the Left-Handed?

Update Date: Oct 17, 2012 05:48 PM EDT
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Napping ends in kindergarten and resumes when you retire at the age of 70. Between then and then we can only hope to get enough sleep to function and to keep our ulcers from getting bigger than the marble sized hunks that form in college.

Power naps, naps defined as a 15-30 minute resting period where the brain goes directly into REM, have been reported by many as just the thing needed to regain focus after working or studying to hard and/or for long hours. 

Well, experts from Georgetown University Medical Center have good news:  They may have found evidence to support the notion that napping does in fact refocus the brain. 

Presented at Neuroscience 2012, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, the study showed that when participants rested, the right hemisphere of their brains talked more to itself and to the left hemisphere than the left hemisphere communicated with either itself or the right side.

 "This was true no matter which hand a participant used. The right hemisphere was more integrated in right-handed participants, and even stronger in the left-handed," says Andrei Medvedev, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Center for Functional and Molecular Imaging at Georgetown. 

Right handed people use the left side of their brain and left handed people use the right.  The activities being processed by the right hemisphere, which is known to be involved in creative tasks, could be daydreaming or processing and storing previously acquired information. 

The non-activity of the left side of our brains surprised researchers considering the importance society and our very livelihoods place upon it's function which includes processesing language, logic, critical thinking, numbers and reasoning. 

While we rest, researchers suspect that the right hemisphere of our brain takes that opportunity to do some housecleaning by classifying data and consolidating memories. Researchers are doing more testing to find whether or not power naps are more beneficial for left handed people then their counterparts.  

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