Afternoon Naps May Help Keep the Brain Sharp


By Lola Augustine Brown


There’s no reason to feel guilty about that power nap you like to catch after lunch. Recent study results suggest that it might help boost both thinking and memory and keep older brains in shape.

According to a report published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, a study involving nearly 3,000 Chinese seniors aged 65 or older found that the length of your nap is important: a hour-long nap improved subjects’ performance on mental tests involving math and memory games (63 minutes was the average). Those who didn’t nap at all or who napped for 30 minutes or less or 90 minutes or more had lower scores and experienced mental decline roughly equal to that a five-year increase in age could be expected to cause—about four to six times greater than that experienced by those who napped for an hour, a group comprising 57.7% of participants.

Photos: iStock/DGLimages (top) and zeremski (bottom).


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