Monday December 9, 2019
Home Lead Story Taking Short ...

Taking Short Breaks in Between May Help You Grasp New Skills Better

This suggested volunteers' performance improved primarily during the short rests, and not during typing, the team said.

0
//
"Everyone thinks you need to 'practice, practice and practice' when learning something new," said co-author Leonardo G. Cohen from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in the US. Pixabay

If you are in a process of learning new skills, then taking short breaks in between may help you grasp it better, say researchers.

The study, published in the journal Current Biology, suggests our brains probably take short rest periods to strengthen memories.

brain
By looking at the brain waves, researchers also found activity patterns that suggested the brains of participants were consolidating, or solidifying, memories during the rest. Pixabay

“Everyone thinks you need to ‘practice, practice and practice’ when learning something new,” said co-author Leonardo G. Cohen from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in the US. “We found resting, early and often, may be just as critical to learning as practice,” Cohen said.

For the study, researchers recorded brain waves from a group of right-handed volunteers with a highly sensitive scanning technique called magnetoencephalography or MEG.

They were asked to type numbers as many times as possible with their left hands for 10 seconds, then take rest for 10 seconds and to repeat the cycle until they had typed the numbers 35 more times.

technique
For the study, researchers recorded brain waves from a group of right-handed volunteers with a highly sensitive scanning technique called magnetoencephalography or MEG. Pixabay

The findings showed the volunteers’ speed at which they correctly typed numbers improved dramatically during the first few trials and then levelled off around the 11th cycle. This suggested volunteers’ performance improved primarily during the short rests, and not during typing, the team said.

Also Read: 2019 Elections in India: Good Economics Makes For Good Politics

By looking at the brain waves, researchers also found activity patterns that suggested the brains of participants were consolidating, or solidifying, memories during the rest.

Specifically, they found the changes in the size of brain waves, called beta rhythms, correlated with the improvements the volunteers made during rests. The team plans to explore, in detail, the role of these early resting periods in learning and memory. (IANS)

Next Story

Deep Sleep Can Reduce Higher Anxiety Levels

A Study strongly suggests that insufficient sleep amplifies levels of anxiety and, conversely, that deep sleep helps reduce such stress

0
Deep
Deep Sleep had restored the brain's prefrontal mechanism that regulates our emotions, lowering emotional and physiological reactivity and preventing the escalation of anxiety. Pixabay

Researchers have found that the type of Sleep most apt to calm and reset the anxious brain is deep sleep, also known as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) slow-wave sleep, a state in which neural oscillations become highly synchronised, and heart rates and blood pressure drops.

A sleepless night can trigger up to a 30 per cent rise in anxiety levels, researchers from the University of California said.

“We have identified a new function of deep sleep, one that decreases anxiety overnight by reorganising connections in the brain,” said study senior author Professor Matthew Walker.

“Deep sleep seems to be a natural anxiolytic (anxiety inhibitor), so long as we get it each and every night,” Walker added.

“Our study strongly suggests that insufficient sleep amplifies levels of anxiety and, conversely, that deep sleep helps reduce such stress,” said study lead author Eti Ben Simon.

In a series of experiments using functional MRI and polysomnography, among other measures, researchers scanned the brains of 18 young adults as they viewed emotionally stirring video clips after a full night of sleep, and again after a sleepless night.

Anxiety levels were measured following each session via a questionnaire known as the state-trait anxiety inventory.

After a night of no sleep, brain scans showed a shutdown of the medial prefrontal cortex, which normally helps keep our anxiety in check, while the brain’s deeper emotional centres were overactive.

Deep
Researchers have found that the type of Sleep most apt to calm and reset the anxious brain is Deep sleep, also known as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) slow-wave sleep, a state in which neural oscillations become highly synchronised, and heart rates and blood pressure drops. Pixabay

After a full night of sleep, during which participants’ brain waves were measured via electrodes placed on their heads, the results showed their anxiety levels declined significantly, especially for those who experienced more slow-wave NREM sleep.

“Deep sleep had restored the brain’s prefrontal mechanism that regulates our emotions, lowering emotional and physiological reactivity and preventing the escalation of anxiety,” Simon said.

ALSO READ: Glaciers in Alaska Melting due to Climate Change

Beyond gauging the sleep-anxiety connection in the 18 original study participants, the researchers replicated the results in a study of another 30 participants.

Across all the participants, the results again showed that those who got more nighttime deep sleep experienced the lowest levels of anxiety the next day.  (IANS)