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Taking A Nap For An Hour After Lunch May Boost Brain Power In Older Adults

Update Date: Jan 09, 2017 09:00 AM EST
Nap Older Adults
Taking an hour nap after lunch could boost brain power among older adults, a new study found. (Photo : Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

As people age, one of the most important things to do is preserve memory and the ability to think clearly. Now, scientists found a new way to boost brain power among older adults - taking an hour nap after lunch.

Though the researchers found that a longer or shorter nap did not produce the same results, the study shows that sleep plays a vital role in helping older adults maintain their healthy mental function.

Boosts Brain Power

In the study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, the researchers examined information provided by about 3,000 Chinese adults aged 65 and older to learn whether taking an afternoon nap had any effect on mental health.

To land to their findings, the researchers conducted several tests to assess the mental status of the participants. The older adults answered simple questions and some basic math problems. They were also asked to memorize and recall words.

According to Health Aging Organization, about 60 percent reported that they had a nap after lunch ranging from 30 to 90 minutes.

One Hour Just Enough

However, those who slept for a moderate amount of time after lunch, for about 60 minutes, said they had better overall cognition compared to both people who didn't nap at all and those who napped for periods that were longer than 90 minutes or shorter than 30 minutes.

"These people also experienced the same decline in their mental abilities that a five-year increase in age would be expected to cause. Cognitive function was significantly associated with napping. Comparisons showed that moderate nappers had better overall cognition than non-nappers or extended nappers. Non-nappers also had significantly poorer cognition than short nappers," Junxin Li, lead author of the study, said as reported by BABW News.

Meanwhile, the study also found that non-nappers reported the shortest night time sleep duration and extended nappers slept more during the night. A possible explanation is that people who did not take naps in the afternoon were genetic short sleepers. Hence, they also reported short night time sleep duration.

"In addition, inherent limitations in using self-reported measures may have biased these results, because participants may consistently under- or overestimate their napping and nocturnal sleep duration," the researchers wrote in the study.

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