Rather hit the pause button and give your mind a break, says research from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. In the study, people were asked to recall information from two stories they’d just heard. After one, they sat in a dark room for 10 minutes with their eyes closed, while after the other they launched right into a new task.
The participants remembered many more details when they took time for ‘wakeful rest’ – a few minutes to chill out after receiving new information. Even a full week later, they were still able to recall more details from the first story. The reason?
‘When we learn something new, our brains form a “memory trace” of the information. But in order to retain this info for longer than a few seconds, we need a little time to strengthen this memory,’ says lead study author Dr Michaela Dewar. While relaxing, you don’t have to think about what you’ve just learnt, she adds. ‘It’s fine to let your mind wander and just daydream.’