New research says that wakeful resting, sitting undistracted for a couple of minutes, can improve memory significantly.

The technique has been shown to work in helping the recall of verbal information. Researchers say that the memory can be cemented to last for a long time if people just close their eyes without being bombarded with new information.

The study was based on two separate experiments. In the first experiment, a group of participants were told two short stories and were asked to remember as many details as possible. This group was divided into two sets where one set of participants was asked to sit in a dark room for 10 minutes while the other was asked to play a game of spot the difference on the computer.

The computer game was designed to keep the participants distracted while participants who were asked to rest could either think about the story or daydream.

Participants were then asked to recall the story half an hour later and then after a week. Researchers found that people who were left alone after the story were able to recall information better than people who were made to play the computer game.

“Our findings support the view that the formation of new memories is not completed within seconds. Indeed our work demonstrates that activities that we are engaged in for the first few minutes after learning new information really affect how well we remember this information after a week," said Michaela Dewar, PhD, psychological scientist from the University of Edinburgh and a lead author of the study in a statement.

Earlier research has shown that mediation can improve memory and cognitive skills.

When we acquire a new set of information it is “just at a very early stage of memory formation and that further neural processes have to occur after this stage for us to be able to remember this information at a later point in time," Devar added. Taking breaks during tasks and just keeping eyes shut for while can help the brain consolidate the information better.

The study is to be published in the journal Psychological Science.