Ep 225: What’s Best for Memory – Coffee or a Nap – or Both?

Which Is Better - A Nap or Drinking Coffee? The Coffee Nap!You may have been heard that taking a nap or going to sleep after you learn something helps you to retain it (which is true), but you may also have heard that drinking coffee helps your memory. So which is it? How can you drink coffee AND take a nap? Well, apparently you can get the benefit of both – if you do it right. In this episode we not only learn about the so-called “students’ coffee” but we learn about the “coffee nap”. If you do it just right you can get some great memory boosts.

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Effective Study Practices, Coffee and Naps

  • My episode on the most effective study techniques
  • The Coffitivity Website
  • Is Noise Always Bad? Exploring the Effects of Ambient Noise on Creative Cognition
  • Caffeine can help jolt your memory
  • …there is no magic in taking caffeine five minutes after something that occurs that you need to remember. “Before or between or after or during, it would all work,” he said. “The only thing I would say is don’t drink caffeine to pull an all-nighter. Sleep is really good for memory, but if you are going to drink coffee to stay up you won’t get the boost from either one.” – Caffeine can help jolt…

  • The Science Behind What Naps Do For Your Brain and Why You Should Have One Today
  • Naps have been shown to benefit the learning process, helping us take in and retain information better….After memorizing a set of cards, they had a 40-minute break wherein one group napped, and the other stayed awake. After the break, both groups were tested on their memory of the cards, and the group who had napped performed better:….Research indicates that when memory is first recorded in the brain–in the hippocampus, to be specific–it’s still “fragile” and easily forgotten, especially if the brain is asked to memorize more things. Napping, it seems, pushes memories to the neocortex, the brain’s “more permanent storage,” preventing them from being “overwritten.” – The Science Behind…

  • Scientists agree: Coffee naps are better than coffee or naps alone
  • Caffeine Improves Long-Term Memory When Consumed After Learning
  • Dementia: When “Living in the Moment” is Not A Good Thing

    Enjoying A Fleeting Birthday MomentTomorrow my mother turns 94 and her physical health is amazing. I have spoken about my mother and her husband Roy (who turns 99 next Spring) on this podcast several times including this episode where I interview him since he is in the final stage of Erikson’s Eight Stages of PsychoSocial Development. Like many people her age my mother suffers from dementia which means that while her long term memory is good, her short term memory is not good at all.

    When she meets a new person you have to tell her that person’s name many, many times. Eventually she will get it, but she does not remember that she has asked you what the person’s name is over and over again. Living with someone who has dementia requires a great deal of patience.

    Living in the Moment

    There are some advantages to living in the moment, which in many ways is what people with dementia do because they cannot remember (or cannot remember very well anyway) what happened a few minutes ago.

    One advantage of living in the moment is that when something annoying occurs – such as your elderly husband becoming ornery over something and is a real pain in the ass – you forget it within minutes. You quickly forget that he is in fact, a pain in the ass.

    But here’s a disadvantage of this phrase we have come to associate only positive things. Recently we had to hire an live-in home health care aid to help her and her husband manage their lives (he needs help moving about the house without falling and she needs to be watched to make sure she doesn’t leave the stove on and start a fire). The aid spends most of her time sitting and waiting for either one of them to need help so she is a new presence right there in their lives. I can understand how it’s uncomfortable to have a stranger in your house. On the other hand, now I can take my mother out for day trips without having to worry about her husband.

    So I took my mother out for an afternoon so we could celebrate her birthday. She was out with friends and relatives for about 5 hours and she had a great time. A great time.

    She forgot almost all of it soon after I returned her home. Her focus returned to this “stranger” and how she can’t understand/remember why this person is living in their house. The recent good times – made possible only because we now have this home health aid – are lost and her focus returns to how unhappy she is to have this person in her home.

    It’s sad. And more and more of us “sandwich generation” children/adults are having to deal with it.

    Our memories – so essential to our happiness – are delicate. Take care of yours. Get exercise, be active, eat well.

    Psychologists React to Robin Williams’ Death

    Robin Williams

    Shock and Sadness

    How has the mental health community reacted to Robin Williams’ suicide? I’ve been reflecting on my own reaction as well as reading blog posts and news articles from other mental health professionals. Here’s my take on what we’re thinking.

    Like everyone else, mental health professionals found themselves saddened and speechless at Williams’ loss. He was so unique and gave so much. He will be so missed.

    But Why Couldn’t He Have…

    It’s so natural for us to think, “But he was rich and famous – couldn’t he have brought himself out of this?”. There are two things we need to understand here:

    Hedonic Adaptation – the term to describe the fact that we all get used to what we have. Almost all of us think that if we had more money, a new car, or more X, Y or Z we would be happier. And maybe, for a little while, we would. But we don’t stay delirious forever.Our minds adapt and whatever our current state soon becomes the daily grind. In the civilized world we already have more than most people. You probably already have more money and more stuff (cars, smartphones, TVs, etc.) than you had 10 years ago. Bet you’ve gotten used to it. Robin Williams had been famous for 30+ years. I’m sure he was used to it. I doubt it gave him the kind of joy we imagine it would give us. We are quite poor at what we call “emotional forecasting“: we think we’ll feel a certain way in the future, but we’re usually wrong.
    [Read more...]

    Ep 224 (Video): If Freud Worked Tech Support


    A humorous way to learn about the Freudian defense mechanisms (actually elaborated by Anna Freud) of Displacement, Denial, Sublimation, Reaction Formation, and Projection. A little dream analysis thrown in. Who knows? Maybe Freud would have been good at tech support…(technically, this is a video version of episode 209).

    Ep 223: Little Albert’s Real Identity – Time to Rewrite the Textbooks

    [This] dispute … has been settled to the satisfaction of all neutral observers from journal editors to manuscript reviewers to … textbook authors who have seen our articles. The argument is settled…..I would turn to the question of why it took the field of psychology 5+ years to get this sorted out.”

    What was the name of that baby in John Watson‘s famous videos in which he attempts to demonstrate that fears can be acquired through conditioning (pairing a loud noise with a furry animal)? A few years ago we were presented with information indicating that a boy named Douglas Merrite was the true identity of “Little Albert“. The data looked pretty convincing at that time. However, a few pieces of that data simply did not fit together for researchers Nancy Digdon, Russell Powell and Ben Harris.
    [Read more...]