Healthy Tips

January 11, 2017

A Nap a Day Keeps Memory Problems Away

A Nap a Day Keeps Memory Problems Away

Some people say, “If you snooze, you lose.”

However, based on research if you snooze you might actually gain.

According to a recent study, napping for one hour every afternoon may provide a mental boost for adults aged 65 and older.

In order to determine if extra sleep during the day had any effect on brain function, researchers reviewed the study participants' nighttime sleep habits and whether or not they took a nap in the afternoon to determine if extra rest during the day had any effects on brain function.

Nearly 60 percent of the people napped after lunch. The duration of these naps ranged from about 30 minutes to more than 90 minutes. Most of the participants slept for about an hour.

The participants took several mental status tests, such as answering simple questions and completing basic math problems. They also tried to memorize and recall words and copy drawings of simple geometric objects.

The people who napped for an hour after lunch performed better on the brain function tests than those who didn't nap at all. Those who slept for an hour also outperformed the people who slept for less than an hour or more than an hour, the findings showed.

The study participants who didn't nap, took short naps or very long naps had declines in their mental abilities that were up to six times greater than those who slept for an hour in the afternoon.

There are things people can do to remain active and experience stay healthy aging. It is important to understand what changes to expect. Some changes may just be part of normal aging, while others may be a warning sign of a medical problem. It is important to know the difference, and to let a healthcare provider know about any concerns.

If you don't have a doctor and would like help finding one, call Healthcare Coordination to make an appointment.

For reliable information on how to take better care of your health or a loved one’s health — or on any health related topic — contact the Health Information Center.  

Staffed by medical librarians and certified health information specialists, the Health Information Center offers an extensive health library, digital and print resources, walk-in assistance, and help with research on specific health conditions — all free of charge and available to the public.

This healthy tip is provided by the Health Information Center at The University of Tennessee Medical Center.