The Key To Improving Memory? Science Says Rewards And Naps

Alain Saint-Dic
Alain Saint-Dic, Health and Fitness Editor at 20something, brings over nine years of experience in the health and fitness industry. Though he studied pre-law, his love for the human body, it's adaptive ability and unlocking the largely untapped potential of human beings led him to pursue a passionate career in health, fitness, and athletics.

Remember those days when you would take a pop quiz and your teacher gives it back to you with a sticker or a smiley face on it? Getting these stickers went downhill for me during my sophomore year of high school, but I’m sure the rest of you remember the joy you felt getting them for years because of all the hard work you put in.

There’s usually a method to that madness.

Good work equals more good work in the future. Studies show that rewards systems influence learning patterns, just like how your pet is so obedient because it constantly gets those doggie treats for doing what you want it to do. Our memories retain repetitive information if there’s a special treat rewarded at the end.

But rewards are only ONE piece of the puzzle. Sleep is the deadbolt to retaining information.

Sleep and rewards work together to improve your memory. If you take sleep out of the equation, it might be hurt your achievement potential.

Though this may be more relevant in a school environment, it applies to starting your careers too. As 20somes, we’re constantly trying to meet goals and reach that great achievement. Learn these small ways to enhance your achievement success. You’ll find this 99 percent more useful than any drug you take.

So treat yoself to something nice when you’re right

Learning new things can be easy or hard, but there ain’t no harm in treatin’ yoooself a little. Everytime you get something right, treat yoself! This small treat will help your brain remember the information easier for future reference.

Some treat yoself ideas: Eat some chocolate, take some shots (not too many), go out to your favorite restaurant, get a massage. If you’ve done something really amazing, squeeze all of these events into a 90-minute break. Cause you got to treat yoself!

treat yo self animated GIF

And make sure to get that 8 hours of sleep in

“While you’re sleeping, I’m grinding!” Yeah we get it, and we enthusiastically applaud your efforts. But everyone needs some sleep in their lives. Sleep-shaming ourselves into thinking that we won’t be successful because “we can sleep when we’re dead” is exactly the opposite of what we should be doing. Take a nap. Take lots of naps. Use them as a seal on top the high reward sealant. Adequate sleep allows us to recall information that was stored in the learn/reward cycle.

Learn, indulge, sleep.

In that exact order. It will give your achievement levels a noticeable boost by enhancing your learning and memory process.

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