Healthcare Topic for the Durham Community: Take a Nap After Lunch to Keep Your Brain Active

February 21, 2017

It is important as you age to maintain good healthcare through staying socially active, keeping your brain engaged learning new things, eating well, exercising and getting a good night’s rest. Although crossword puzzles and memory games are believed to keep the mind sharp as you age, a new study has found encouraging results by just napping an hour after lunch. Recent findings have suggested that an hour’s rest after lunch can prevent brain aging by five years when it comes to memory and thinking. The study found a 60 minute sleep was the optimum amount of time to achieve positive results. A longer or shorter period of sleep did not produce the same results.

Seniors over age 65 were studied over several months based on the length of the naps they took and mental testing. The tests were basic math problems, questions about dates and seasons and memorizing words. Those taking an hour long nap performed better on the tests compared to those that didn’t and also performed better than those who took longer or shorter naps. Those not taking naps, taking short naps or longer naps experienced between four to six times greater decreased mental ability than those taking one hour naps. Cognitive function was found to show the most improvement in those who napped for an hour. The study shows continued belief that sleep plays a beneficial role in learning and memory.

Sleep disturbances in Alzheimer’s victims are common and may play a role in the disease. The study hopes to further research the science behind sleep and cognition and the differences between men’s and women’s sleep patterns. Naps were found to be more beneficial to men whereas women benefitted more from a long night’s sleep. Sleep affects the sexes in different ways from hormonal changes to brain structure.


Have a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s in the Chapel Hill or Durham area? Need a qualified person to provide in home care? Acorn can help you get qualified, compassionate in home care givers.

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