Naps Improve Memory, Thinking in Adults
Many adults know that napping is not just for children. And according to previous research and the National Sleep Foundation, a 20- to 30-minute nap can help boost alertness and mental performance in adults, without interfering with nighttime sleep. But now, a new observational study shows that an hour-long nap each afternoon may even improve cognitive function and memory in older adults.
For the study, which was conducted in China, about 3,000 people aged 65 and older were divided into four groups: non-nappers, short nappers (those who napped less than 30 minutes a day), moderate nappers (those who napped 30-90 minutes), and extended nappers (those who usually napped more than 90 minutes). About 57.7 percent of people in the study napped and the average nap lasted about an hour.
The study participants performed a series of tests that measured attention, episodic memory, recall, and other cognitive functions. According to researchers, moderate nappers performed better than other groups on these tests. The decline in mental abilities in non-nappers and those who napped for shorter or longer periods is comparable to a 5-year increase in age, researchers report.
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