Scientists at the Max Planck Institute analysed the sleep patterns of 160 adults to consider how sleep affects intellectual capacity and found that getting a good night’s sleep boosts women’s brain power, while men benefit from shorter naps, the Independent reported.
The researchers monitored the cohort’s sleep patterns, as well as performing intelligence tests on them to assess their reasoning and problem solving skills, Mail Online reports. They monitored sleep spindles, which are bursts of brain activity to consider correlation with different forms of sleep, cross-referenced with gender.
They found that sleep spindles, which are associated with higher IQ scores, were boosted when women entered dreamless sleep. For men no such correlation was found during dreamless sleep.
However, analysis of men’s brain activity found the same stimulation occurred when they had naps.
Martin Dresler said: “Our results demonstrate that the association between sleep spindles and intelligence is more complex than we have assumed until now. There are many factors involved in intellectual abilities, and sleep is just one of them. This large study of men and women gives us a more accurate framework for the next phase of research which will involve differences in individuals sleep patterns.”