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Daily naps could slow your brain from shrinking with age: new study

Daily naps could slow your brain from shrinking with age: new study
A study published in the journal Sleep Health found that sneaking in a quick nap during the day may correlate with a larger total brain volume.
A study published in the journal Sleep Health found that sneaking in a quick nap during the day may correlate with a larger total brain volume.

A power nap can power your brain.

A study published in the journal Sleep Health found that sneaking in a quick nap during the day may correlate with a larger total brain volume.

As we age, our brains shrink in size and weight at about 5% per decade after turning 40 — and possibly faster after celebrating 70, contributing to the changes in cognitive function that come with aging, according to the National Institutes of Health.

But the new study found that tucking in for a quick nap can help that.

To be exact, those who napped often were found to have a difference of 2.6 to 6.5 years of aging than those who power through the day without a nap.

“Our findings suggest that, for some people, short daytime naps may be a part of the puzzle that could help preserve the health of the brain as we get older,” Dr. Victoria Garfield, senior study author, said in a statement.

A study published in the journal Sleep Health found that sneaking in a quick nap during the day may correlate with a larger total brain volume. NY Post illustration
A study published in the journal Sleep Health found that sneaking in a quick nap during the day may correlate with a larger total brain volume. NY Post illustration
Those who napped often were found to have a difference of 2.6 to 6.5 years of aging than those who power through the day without a nap. Viktor Koldunov – stock.adobe.com
Those who napped often were found to have a difference of 2.6 to 6.5 years of aging than those who power through the day without a nap. Viktor Koldunov – stock.adobe.com

Researchers from University College London and the University of the Republic in Uruguay analyzed health and cognitive function outcomes between those who have a genetic predisposition to want to nap and those who do not.

The team used Mendelian randomization, which “examines how certain behaviors, environments or other factors lead to specific health outcomes by looking at genetic differences that affect the way people’s bodies react to the behavior, environment or other factors,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“By looking at genes set at birth, Mendelian randomization avoids confounding factors occurring throughout life that may influence associations between napping and health outcomes,” lead author Valentina Paz said in a statement.

She explained that the study was able to find a “casual link” to show that napping did directly lead to larger total brain volume.”

However, the researchers did note that all participants were of white European ancestry, meaning the results may not remain true for other ethnicities.

“Our findings suggest that, for some people, short daytime naps may be a part of the puzzle that could help preserve the health of the brain as we get older,” Dr. Victoria Garfield, senior study author, said in a statement. stokkete – stock.adobe.com
“Our findings suggest that, for some people, short daytime naps may be a part of the puzzle that could help preserve the health of the brain as we get older,” Dr. Victoria Garfield, senior study author, said in a statement. stokkete – stock.adobe.com

But this study isn’t the first to prove the benefits of napping.

Setting your alarm for about 20 to 30 minutes can enhance alertness, mood and memory and reduce stress while avoiding grogginess, according to the Sleep Foundation.

Experts have even claimed that napping can make you a better employee and a better parent.

The research comes as more and more people are taking their sleep seriously — Google searches for “sleep” reached an all-time high last year.