Study: Quiet Time Is Our Brain's Very Best Productivity Hack
Oberto Gilli for Vogue
Did you know that memory decline begins at the not-so-ripe age of 30? It's true! And it's probably why there's a bustling landscape of conversation, from scientific studies to brain games to mobile apps aplenty, around how to keep our brains sharp. We've reported on the memory-sharpening games you can play already, but now we're shifting focus to a recent finding that is simple, straightforward goodness.
According to Inc., a recent study out of Duke University suggests that a state of pure quiet improves memory and awareness significantly.
Lead researcher on the study and regenerative biologist, Imke Kirste, looked to mice to better understand the impact of sound on our brains. After exposing four different groups of mice to various aural stimuli, she studied their physiological responses. The groups that were exposed to music, calls from their young, and white noise exhibited immediate, short-term responses. The period-of-silence group, first imagined as a control group in the study, displayed the most substantial impact.
The finding was that two hours of silence per day prompted cell development in the hippocampus, the brain region related to the formation of memory and the senses. Kirste was expecting this brain response in the groups exposed to sound, not silence, but there the results were. The total absence of sound may have been so unexpected and unnatural that it prompted higher levels of sensitivity and alertness in the study's subjects.
The takeaway is simple: As we continue to be bombarded by external stimuli 24/7, a little quiet time can do wonders. Whether taking a solo walk in the middle of the day or simply sipping a cup of tea in silence, it turns out a peaceful respite is actually our memory's secret weapon. We love how Inc. put it: "Creating quiet time is a conscious act towards productivity disguised as a leisure activity."
Now that we can get behind.
Try out this relaxing eye pillow the next time you seek some silence, no matter where you are or what's going on around you!
Do you engage in periods of quiet time? What do you do to refresh your memory throughout the day? Tell us below!