Napping in the afternoon is a bad idea. People see it as lazy, tired, or sick. But in a study of people over 60, taking naps made them smarter.
In a study, older adults who took an afternoon nap did better on a test. Now we know that naps can help us get smarter.
A study was done with 2,214 people over 60 in China. 1,534 took naps and 680 did not. The study looked at both physical and mental health among these people.
The observational study found that people who take naps score higher on the MMSE. The MMSE is a test that helps determine if people have dementia. It includes tests for visuospatial skills, attention span, problem-solving, working memory, and locational awareness.
Nappers did well in the last three categories of a study. The study was led by Dr. Lin Sun and he is from the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Center at Shanghai Mental Health Center.
People need sleep to learn. Sleep helps your brain. This is how it works: your brain clears out unnecessary information and prepares for new information. Sometimes people take naps, which is when they sleep for a short time.
Benefits of Afternoon Nap
The study group got a lot of sleep at night. They all slept for an average of 6.5 hours. The group had people who took naps and people who didn’t take naps, but they were both the same in how much sleep they got every night. People who took naps did it in the afternoon after lunchtime.
People were asked how many times they nap during the week. The answers ranged from 1 time a week to every day. One weakness of this study was that researchers did not ask people how long they nap or at what specific time of day.
You should take a nap in the afternoon between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., and it can last from 10 to 30 minutes long. The evidence suggests that napping is good for your mood, energy, and productivity while also helping with anxiety and physical or mental tension.
A short nap in the afternoon will make you feel awake and ready for the rest of the day. You won’t feel sleepy or groggy at all.
If you can sleep for a longer period, like 60 minutes, it will help your brain. When you do this, your brain will move memories from the hippocampus to the cortex where they can stay.
Are all naps healthy?
One-third of Americans take a nap each day, according to a 2009 survey by the Pew Research Center. Dr. Abhinav Singh says that while other studies have shown that napping in the afternoon can improve mental agility, it is not clear if it can also help prevent cognitive decline as people age.
Dr. Singh says that people can benefit from a short nap in the middle of the day, especially when they are tired. Studies show that naps improve alertness and also make people feel happier for the rest of the day.
However, longer naps may be a problem. If you nap for 2 hours, it might mean that there is something wrong and your body needs to sleep more.
If you fall asleep for longer than an hour during the day, it might be a sign that you are not getting enough sleep at night. There are many reasons why this could happen. This includes sleep disorders and poor sleep habits from using screens or staying up late.
In the elderly, medical conditions and/or medications that they take can also affect how well they sleep. Certain blood pressure medications, arthritis medication, muscle relaxers, and certain mental health medications can negatively impact how well someone sleeps.
More research is needed to figure out if the need for more sleep among the elderly means they are trying to fix dementia.
“Is it the sleep/wake disturbance that’s causing a neurodegenerative change, or is it the other way around?” he said.