Great News: Afternoon Napping Linked to Increased Mental Agility

We’re a big fan of the nanna nap hear at The Latch. We’re definitely part of the 40% of Aussies who take a nap at least twice a week. This is exactly why we were so delighted to hear about this latest piece of research, from the online journal General Psychiatry.

The research found that taking a regular afternoon nap may be linked to better mental agility. Not only that, but an afternoon siesta is associated with better locational awareness, verbal fluency, and working memory.

So how was this discovered? Researchers surveyed 2,214 healthy people in their 60s, comparing the 1,534 people who took a regular afternoon nap to the 680 who didn’t. All participants underwent a series of health checks and cognitive assessments throughout, including one that checks for dementia – the Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE).

The dementia screening tests included items that measured cognitive ability, visuospatial skills, working memory, attention span, problem-solving, locational awareness, and verbal fluency (yep, the stuff we mentioned earlier). And what they found – you guessed it – cognitive performance scores were significantly higher among the nappers! Justice for sleepy people.

However, the timing for naps was important though. You can’t just be napping all over the place, willy nilly. These naps were all taken after lunch and they lasted from five minutes up to two hours (but absolutely no more than that).

And remember to keep in mind that all those surveyed only slept 6.5 hours at night – so it’s not surprising that those who managed to fall into the recommended amount of hours per night (seven to nine hours) felt better than those who didn’t tip into the category.

But don’t worry, naps ranging 10-20 minutes even have their benefits. They can help you feel more awake and perform better. Short naps can also aid in reducing sleepiness, improving learning, aiding memory formation, and regulating emotions.

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