In a test of their ability to remember facts, the volunteers were asked to memorise pairs of words, such as 'clock' and 'hands'.
Their ability to learn an action was also tested, with the men and women trying to accurately trace the mirror image of a complex pattern.
Then, half the group were taken to a soundproof chamber. Although they were allowed to nap for up to an hour, the average time spent asleep was 47 minutes.
While they snoozed, the others relaxed by reading magazines and watching films. Six hours after the start of the experiment, both sets of volunteers were re-tested on the memory and mirror games.
While both groups performed equally well on the mirror-image test, those who had napped did better on the memory test than those who had stayed awake all afternoon.
In fact, the nappers remembered 15 percent more word pairs, the news report said quoting New Scientist.