Scientists have always known that sleeping helps consolidate memory by allowing your mind to sift through recently gained knowledge and file it in the brain.
But this new research suggests that even a short rest or break while conscious could help it sort and retain information.
The findings by New York University, which appear in the latest issue of the journal Neuron, expand our understanding of how memories are boosted.
It is also could help explain why we remember some knowledge in exquisite detail but forget others almost immediately.
"Taking a coffee break after class can actually help you retain that information you just learned," said Dr Lila Davachi, an assistant professor in NYU's Department of Psychology and Center for Neural Science.