Research Shows Day-time Napping Reduces Brain Aging!

Research Shows Day-time Napping Reduces Brain Aging!

Imagine playing your favorite video game, and suddenly your character starts feeling tired and sluggish. What do you do? You press a magical pause button, take a short break, and let your character rest and recharge. Daytime napping is like that magical pause button for our bodies and minds! And who doesn’t love taking a lil power nap after your favorite meal? It’s like a mini-vacation for our brains and bodies. But guess what, there’s more to it than we know!

A recent study conducted by researchers from UCL and the University of the Republic in Uruguay suggests that daytime napping could potentially slow down the shrinking of our brains as we get older, which is beneficial for brain health. Surprising, right? Let’s dig in and learn more about it.

Why This Research?

In previous studies, people who took a nap performed better in tests measuring how well our brains think and remember things than those who didn’t nap. Now, a new study wanted to figure out if napping actually helps keep our brains healthy.

A study recently published in the journal Sleep Health looked at data from people between the ages of 40 and 69. They discovered something really interesting! It turns out that there’s a connection between taking regular daytime naps and having a bigger brain. A bigger brain is a good sign. How? Because it means better brain health and a lower risk of diseases like dementia.

How Did They Do It?

Scientists wanted to find out if there’s a real connection between daytime napping and having a bigger brain. To do this, they used a special technique called Mendelian randomization. They looked at tiny bits of our DNA, which can determine if we’re more likely to be habitual nappers.

They collected data from almost 379,000 people in a big study called the UK Biobank. And compared the brain health and thinking abilities of people who have those “napping genes” with people who don’t have them. They discovered that people who are genetically “programmed” to take naps actually have larger brains!

Although those who were genetically predisposed to being habitual nappers showed no differences in three specific measures of brain health and cognitive performance (hippocampal volume, reaction time, and visual processing), this does not imply that napping has no advantages.

According to the study, those who are genetically predisposed to napping have bigger total brain volumes on average, which is equivalent to brains that are 2.6 to 6.5 years younger.

So, What Does This Mean?

The length of the naps was unknown to the researchers in this study. But earlier research has indicated that shorter periods of sleep, of 30 minutes or less, typically provide us with the most instant brain boosts. So, if you want to reap those cognitive benefits, a quick power nap is the way to go!

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