It turns out that midday siesta may be just the thing to give your mind a boost. A recent study published in General Psychiatry found that afternoon naps may indeed help your brain with mental agility.
More than that, they are linked to “locational awareness,” verbal fluency and working (temporary) memory. However, it’s not really clear whether there is a direct cause and effect.
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We’ve heard that sleep is good for your heart, among many other health benefits. But we are starting to learn the sleep’s positive impact on brain health too.
The research, out of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Center at the Shanghai Mental Health Center, looked at data from 2,200 people aged 60 and more. Over 1,500 of the study participants took regular afternoon napes of no more than two hours long (680 did not nap). Participants were given tests to assess mental ability including visuospatial skills, working memory, attention span, problem-solving, locational awareness and verbal fluency.
The group that took regular naps scored higher when it came to locational awareness, verbal fluency and memory.
The research team theorizes that naps may help ease inflammation, which is a significant factor in overall health and sleep disorders.