Workout or Pass Out

Photo of Asian female studying and biting pencil in frustration.

Finals season – time to pull an all-nighter! 

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, saying…can I just get forty winks first? 

We know that both sleep and exercise are good for memory. But in which order? Is there a “magic formula”  to cram for that exam? 

Melodee Mograss at Concordia University and her colleagues wondered. 

In their study, over a hundred volunteers either sat quietly or did a moderate intensity cycling session for forty minutes. Then they were shown forty-five pictures of different objects — like a fridge or a garden. After learning, the subjects either snoozed for an hour or sat quietly. Finally, they were tested on how many objects they could remember.

AND? Those who exercised BEFORE learning and napped AFTER had the best results! They remembered three percent more than those who ONLY napped. And five percent more than those who JUST exercised!

Mograss believes that working out, studying, and then passing out is the key to great memory. 

Now, go nail that exam. After a good snooze, of course!

Reference: Mograss, M., Crosetta, M., Abi-Jaoude, J., Frolova, E., Robertson, E. M., Pepin, V., & Dang-Vu, T. T. (2020). Exercising before a nap benefits memory better than napping or exercising alone. Sleep, 43(9), zsaa062.