Practice - And A Night's Sleep - Makes Perfect
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PRACTICE - AND A NIGHT'S SLEEP - MAKES PERFECT
Wednesday, August 14, 2002
Scientists say if you're searching for the key to success then you need a
good night's sleep.
Research from Germany shows that sleep is vital to the kind of motor skills
important in sport and musical ability.
A team led by Stefan Fischer at the University of Lubeck studied 52
volunteers who were asked to learn a sequence of finger-to-thumb taps.
They found that sleep after practice dramatically enhanced performance of
the task, both in speed and accuracy.
The volunteers had to tap together the thumb and fingers of their
non-dominant hand in a particular order. Starting with the little (fourth)
finger the pattern went four, one, three, two and four.
After learning the sequence for 15 minutes, the participants were either
allowed to sleep or kept awake for eight hours.
Writing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the
researchers say the study demonstrates "an essential role of sleep in the
formation of memory for motor skills".
They added: "In generalising these observations to skills of every day life
(such as learning a musical instrument or sport), we would conclude that
sleep is required to achieve optimum performance on any of these skills."
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