Research Suggests That An Additional 1 Hour Of Afternoon Nap Can Help Older Adults Boost Their Mental Health

First Posted: Jan 10, 2017 04:00 AM EST

The right amount of sleep can keep people healthy. Thus, a new study suggests that an additional nap for an hour in the afternoon may help older adults boost their mental health.

The researchers said that the extra daytime was associated with the improvement of the memory and the ability to think clearly among the Chinese participants. The study gathered information from nearly 3,000 adults aged 65 years and older.

In the study, the researchers investigate the participants' sleeping habits during nighttime. Also, whether or not they took an afternoon nap to indicate of the extra hour of rest during daytime has an effect on the brain's function, according to UPI.

The researchers found that nearly 60 percent of the participants have a regular nap usually after lunch. The time duration of these naps usually takes 30 minutes and for some around 90 minutes. Most of the study participants slept for an hour.

The research team lead by Junxin Li at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia asked the participants to undergo several series of tests with regard to mental status. It includes answering simple questions and accomplish basic math problems. Also, the study participants tried to memorize and recall words and copy simple drawings of geometric objects.

As for the result, the participants who usually take a nap after lunch shows a better result of the brain function tests compared to those who did not take a nap at all. As for the volunteers who slept for an hour outperformed the people who slept for less than an hour or more than an hour. The study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

In addition, the study participants who did not take a nap, took short naps or very long naps had declines in their mental abilities and were up to six times greater than those who slept for an hour in the afternoon.

However, the researchers said that although the study found a link between an hour-long nap in the afternoon and sharper mental abilities, it does not prove any of the cause and effect relationships.

Medical News Today reported that the researchers indicated that the study is observational. Thus, they cannot prove that afternoon nap benefits cognitive function directly on older adults. Hence, further investigation will be conducted.

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