Although studies have shown that keeping active can help keep the mind sharp as we age, additional research indicates that daytime napping can improve memory, boost alertness and increase overall mental performance. Score one for power nappers!
A recent study, published by the Journal of American Geriatrics Society, found that a one-hour afternoon nap can improve both memory and thinking skills in older adults. More proof that the art of balance and moderation is key when it comes to managing the effects of aging.
Approximately 2,900 participants over the age of 65 were involved in the interview-based study that required them to report on their napping schedule. Subjects were also asked how long they napped for after lunch each day. Subjects were then categorized into four different groupings based on the length of their naps. Non-nappers (0 minutes), short nappers (less than 30 minutes), moderate nappers (30-90 minutes) and extended nappers (more than 90 minutes) then underwent a series of tests to assess attention, memory, skill and recall.
Researchers found that participants that had a one-hour afternoon nap were high performers in all cognitive testing. Participants who didn’t nap, took short naps, or extended naps, on the other hand, experienced a decline in cognitive function when compared to moderate nappers.
Researchers found that participants that had a one-hour afternoon nap were high performers in all cognitive testing.
Although further testing is required, the results of the study suggest that a moderate one-hour nap taken during the post-lunch dip is a wise choice, and that the importance of power napping at the right time of day and for the right length of time shouldn’t be overlooked.