Study: Afternoon naps may prevent cognitive decline

Let’s face it, many of us don’t need much convincing to sneak in a quick afternoon siesta whenever we can.

While a 10-minute powernap can help us feel refreshed, a new study reveals that taking a regular afternoon may be linked to improved mental agility.

Research published in the online journal General Psychiatry, which included 2214 healthy individuals aged at least 60 years, living in several large cities around China, found that participants who napped regularly (1534 study participants) had significantly higher Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE) cognitive performance scores compared to participants who didn’t nap (680 participants).

Additionally, the observational study also found significant differences in locational awareness, verbal fluency and memory between nappers and non-nappers.

Researchers suggest that one of the possible reasons for these findings is that sleep may help ward off inflammation in the body, which could explain the brain boost for those who chose to take an afternoon siesta.

The study authors conclude that the “study’s results demonstrate that afternoon napping was associated with better cognitive function including orientation, language and memory” in the “Chinese ageing population”.

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