People have their own techniques for retaining information. Some assign codes; others assign melodies. If you want to help your kids study better for their exams, here is a useful tip from new research at the University of Notre Dame: encourage them to sleep right after they study.

You might think that they’ll lose all the information they've worked so hard to memorize, but according to researchers, sleeping shortly after studying can help students get a better grasp of the subject in question. They studied 207 students who normally get six hours of sleep every night and assigned them topics to study. The students were tasked to study declarative (memory of events), semantically related (memory of facts about the world), or unrelated word pairs at either 9:00 AM or 9:00 PM, and they were then called back for testing 30 minutes, 12 hours, or 24 hours later.

Results? Those who were able to sleep before the testing appeared to have better memory than those who were awake. "Since we found that sleeping soon after learning benefited both types of memory, this means that it would be a good thing to rehearse any information you need to remember just prior to going to bed. In some sense, you may be 'telling' the sleeping brain what to consolidate," says Notre Dame psychologist and study author Jessica Payne.

You can use this information not just for your children, but for yourself too. It can be especially useful when you've got a big presentation coming up at work that you need to practice a speech for.

(Photo by annisat via sxc.hu)

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