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Does napping hinder or help your health?

Updated: May 28


This is a long-standing conundrum which we may be closer to resolving as a result of a fascinating new study. It involved a sample of almost 379000 participants of average age 57 and older. They were classified into three groups based on their napping frequency: non-nappers, occasional nappers, and regular nappers who underwent comprehensive cognitive assessments and brain imaging scans. The study results found an association between regular nappers and larger brain volumes compared to both non-nappers and occasional nappers. This raises intriguing questions about the potential cognitive benefits of daytime sleep. . Sleep, even in short bursts, may allow the brain to flush out toxins, consolidate memories, and recharge neural networks, ultimately leading to improved cognitive function. Previous research has demonstrated the positive effects of napping on attention, alertness, and memory consolidation. However, it is essential to approach napping with moderation and take individual needs into account. Not everyone may have the luxury or inclination to incorporate regular napping into their daily schedules. Moreover, the duration and timing of naps can also impact their effectiveness. Short power naps of around 20 minutes have been shown to boost alertness, while longer naps can lead to sleep inertia, causing grogginess upon waking. As our understanding of sleep and its impact on the brain continues to evolve, we may discover yet more novel ways to optimize our mental well-being and overall productivity.


Paz, V., . Dashti, S.H., Garfield,V. (2023)Is there an association between daytime napping, cognitive function, and brain volume? A Mendelian randomization study in the UK Biobank,

Sleep Health, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sleh.2023.05.002.

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