Scientists from the University of Pennsylvania say that taking a one- hour nap every day after lunch can make your brain five years younger. The study stated that those who did it had better results in cognitive tests.

Everyone knows that sleeping enough is vital for our health. However, this new study says that moderate napping can improve our cognitive abilities making our brains younger too. The study involved 3000 people from China over 65. It was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Everyone knows that sleeping enough is vital for our health.  Photo credit:
Everyone knows that sleeping enough is vital for our health. Photo credit:

“The people who napped for an hour after lunch performed better on the brain function tests than those who didn’t nap at all. Those who slept for an hour also outperformed the people who slept for less than an hour or more than an hour” said Junxin Li who led the study.

A 60-minute nap is more than enough to improve the health of the brain

There is no need to feel guilty about napping during the afternoon since scientists from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia have found that having a regular nap after lunch can be good for our brain health. The research evaluated 3000 adults from China. All of them were 65-year old or so. 60 percent of the participants had naps with a duration ranging from 30 to 90 minutes. The ones that napped regularly in the afternoon had better results in cognitive tests that those who didn’t.

As well, the scientists realized that the people who had a nap shorter or longer than an hour had lower results in the cognitive tests. Therefore, the study leader, Junxin Li said that they recommend people not to have very long naps either since one hour is more than enough to make our brain healthier and even five years younger.

The cognitive tests include basic math problems, memory tests, copying drawings and recalling words. Scientists also analyzed the sleep patterns of the participants in night hours. Researchers say that the study tried to understand the relationship between aging, health conditions and the brain health.

“Cognitive function was significantly associated with napping. Comparisons showed that moderate nappers had better overall cognition than non-nappers or extended nappers.” Said Dr. Li.

Making time to take a nap

In many cultures, people are used to taking some time to rest or nap after lunch. For example sleeping in the afternoon is something very typical in certain European countries. In various regions, shop close during the afternoon so people can nap. But though napping can be relaxing and even good for our brains, nowadays we live in a world where strict working schedules don’t allow people to nap after lunch. This is a common thing, especially in America. Scientists recommend people to make some time to nap during the day given the benefits of doing so. As well, they highlighted that it is very negative for our health to work night shifts.

Moreover, they suggest that the people who have sleeping disorders should seek medical help. They say that doing exercise or yoga can help us sleep better.

Source: Perfscience