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Natural Awakenings Sarasota / Manatee / Charlotte

Afternoon Naps Could Boost Brain Function in Older Adults

Jan 31, 2017 04:42PM

by Rebekah Greer 


The ability to think clearly, make important decisions and preserve memory becomes more critical as people age. New research into the role sleep plays in mental function throughout the aging process indicates that taking an hour-long nap in the afternoon could become a key factor in boosting brain function.   

During a recent study conducted in China and published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, researchers examined information from 3000 adults, ages 65 and older. Almost 60% of participants said they napped from 30 to 90 minutes or more each afternoon, with the average nap period lasting around 63 minutes. The participants also took several tests to assess their mental acuity. Participants were asked to memorize and recall words, copy drawings of geometric figures, and answer basic questions or math problems. They were also questioned about their napping and nighttime sleep habits.   

The results of this study showed those participants who took an hour-long afternoon nap performed more effectively on these mental tests than participants who did not take napsFurthermore, those who took hour-long naps also outperformed those who rested for either shorter or longer periods of time. Participants who took no naps, shorter naps or longer naps experienced decreases in mental ability which measured about four to six times greater than participants who took hour-long naps. 

So, what do these results mean?  Perhaps if you’re over 65 and longing for that afternoon siesta, resting for an hour could provide more benefits than you realize. These results were part of the study “Afternoon Napping and Cognition in Chinese Older Adults: Findings from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS).”   


If you’re looking for ways to improve the quality of your sleep, contact the professionals at Sleep Organics for a free sleep consultation. For more information, call 941-312-5906 or visit 

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