Napping Makes Seniors Smarter, Research Finds

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Napping Makes Seniors Smarter, Research Finds

Are you a male or female over the age of 65? Do you find yourself getting sleepy mid-day? Well, good news is about to come your way. A new study shows that naps aren’t just for children. In fact, research finds that an hour-long nap after lunch boosts brain function in older adults.

Reports of the study say that people who slept for an hour after lunch did better on mental tests compared to those who did not sleep. It is important to take note of the 60-minute time span, as naps that were shorter or longer did not produce the same results. In order to test this, some adults slept for 30 minutes, while others slept for 90 minutes.

The study, which assessed roughly 3,000 Chinese participants aged 65 and older, was conducted at the University of Pennsylvania by researcher Junxin Li, who recorded the participants’ night time and nap-time sleep habits.

After this information was recorded, the participants were given mental tests, asking them to answer simple questions about dates, seasons and years. Then, they solved basic math problems, and were asked to memorize and recall words, and to draw simple geometric shapes. The participants who had taken hour-long naps received better scores on these tests than those who did not, showing that the naps were directly associated with memory and thinking capabilities.

The takeaway from this is that the brain can use a break mid-day. Giving your mind a rest from the stresses of your daily routine is beneficial—especially if you are 65 or older.

Photo: Flood G., CC-BY

Elizabeth Chambers is a health intern with Paste and a freelance writer based out of Athens, Georgia.

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