It has been a proven fact that 7-8 hours of daily sleep is essential for good health. There have been several studies around it and all of them suggest the same thing. We also often talk about the importance of power naps and the common perception is that you feel more focused and energetic after that. Now a study has found that people who take a nap of around half an hour during the daytime may have improved brain health. According to the study, it significantly lowers the risk of dementia.
Researchers at University College London in the United Kingdom and the University of the Republic in Uruguay have conducted the study. It showed that daytime napping slowed the rate at which brains shrink as we age, by almost seven years.
The study has now been published in the journal Sleep Health. As part of the study, data from almost 4,00,000 people in Britain aged between 40 and 69 were gathered.
Researchers found the average difference in brain volume or the size of the organ to be equivalent to 2.6 to 6.5 years of ageing among those programmed to be habitual nappers and those who were not.
“Our findings suggest that, for some people, short daytime naps may be a part of the puzzle that could help preserve the health of the brain as we get older,” said Dr Victoria Garfield, MRC Unit for Lifelong Health & Ageing at UCL.
No link between napping and the size of the hippocampus
However, researchers didn’t find any link between napping and the size of the hippocampus. For the uninitiated, the hippocampus is the region of the brain linked to memory and learning.
“This is the first study to attempt to untangle the causal relationship between habitual daytime napping and cognitive and structural brain outcomes. Our study points to a causal link between habitual napping and larger total brain volume,” said lead author Valentina Paz, from University of the Republic and UCL.