The ability to think clearly, make important decisions, and preserve memory becomes more critical as we age. New research into the role sleep plays in mental function as we age, may indicate that taking an hour long nap in the afternoon could be key in boosting brain function.
In a recent study in China, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, researchers examined information from 3000 adults age 65 and older. Close to 60% of participants said they napped, from 30 to more than 90 minutes, each afternoon, with the average nap period lasting around 63 minutes. The participants also took several tests to assess mental acuity. Participants were asked to memorize and recall words, copy drawings of geometric figures, and answer basic questions and math problems. They were also questioned about their napping and nighttime sleep habits.
The results of the study showed that those participants who took an hour long afternoon nap did better on the mental tests as compared to those who did not nap. Furthermore, those who took hour-long naps also did better than those who rested for shorter or longer periods of time. Those participants who took no naps, shorter naps, or longer naps experienced decreases in mental ability that were 4-6x greater than those who took hour-long naps.
What does this mean? Perhaps if you’re over 65 and longing for that afternoon siesta, resting for an hour could provide more benefits than you know.
These results were part of the study “Afternoon Napping and Cognition in Chinese Older Adults: Findings from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS)
If you’re looking for ways to improve the quality of your sleep, schedule a free no-obligation sleep consultation with one of our professionals at Sleep Organics.