In a memory recall exercise, participants went through a rigorous memory exercise and then tried to recall the items they had memorised. One group then had 70-90mins of rest and recovery, while the other group did not. The groups then had another round of recalling the things that they had originally learnt.
The rest group performed the best of the two, and in many cases actually performed better than their first try - recalling more information than they had immediately after the exercise. It seems that rest, recovery and sleep allow the brain to consolidate memory and possibly transfer learning from short to long term memory.
The upshoot for performance? If you have to memorise a presentation, data or something similar, make sure that you have a chance to learn it and then sleep on it before having to deliver. This will help your ability to recall details.
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