Do you need a nap? Man sleeping at his desk.

A nap is a short period of sleep usually taken during the day. Many people say napping is an effective way to relax and recharge, while others find naps unhelpful and disruptive to normal sleep.

According to a study published in General Psychiatry, taking afternoon naps is associated with signs of better mental performance in adults ages 60 and older. Researchers analyzed the napping habits of over 2,000 older adults and measured their cognitive abilities. They divided the participants into two categories, those who nap regularly and those who don’t. The study described the nap period taken after lunch lasting between five minutes and two hours. In categories listed in the study, nappers tested higher on average compared to non-napping participants. The study found that a nap is beneficial to cognitive function and the researchers suggest older adults take naps.

How long should a nap be?

Researchers found that five-minute naps are too short to produce a notable benefit. On the other hand, sleeping for more than 30 minutes gives the body time to enter into a deeper sleep.  The Sleep Foundation suggests naps lasting 10 to 20 minutes are ideal.

So, feeling sleep deprived or just looking for a way to relax? Taking a nap just might be the ticket.

Source:

Cai H, Su N, Li W, et al. Relationship between afternoon napping and cognitive function in the ageing Chinese population

General Psychiatry 2021;34:e100361. doi: 10.1136/gpsych-2020-100361

Napping: Health Benefits & Tips for Your Best Nap | Sleep Foundation. (2021). Retrieved 29 January 2021, from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene/napping

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