We’re not sure what the boss would have to say about it if you suddenly downed tools and decided to have a little sleep, but new research has found that taking an hour’s nap after lunch can have a number of health benefits, including preventing brain ageing.
However, the study also found that taking a longer nap, or a so-called power nap where you sleep for just a few minutes, did not have the same impact.
While it is not known if the impact would be the same for younger participants, the research involved around 3,000 people from China over the age of 65. Nearly two thirds of them said that they had a nap after they had eaten lunch, ranging from half an hour to 90 minutes in length.
People who took part in the study were given basic maths problems and memory tests to complete, with the research concluding that those who took a nap lasting an hour did better in the quizzes, compared to those who had no sleep at all during the day or shorter naps.
Better brain function
Those who had either shorter or longer amounts of shut eye following lunch, or did not nap at all, actually had results which were four to six times worse than those participants who had an hour nap.
Leading the study, Dr Junxin Li, said that people who did not take a nap for an hour had the same decrease in mental abilities that would be expected with a five year increase in age. He said the key to better cognitive function was “moderate napping”.
The research, which has now been published in the respected Journal of the American Geriatric Society, adds to a growing body of research which shows that far from being a lazy way to spend part of the day, napping can be good for health, provided that the time spent sleeping during the afternoon.