Tuesday, June 20, 2023
Researchers from University College London have suggested in their new study that instead of any other time of the day a mid-day snooze of less than an hour can help slows down the shrinking of the brain and keeps it from premature ageing.
According to the researchers, they found that those who took naps had 15 cubic centimetres (0.9 cubic inches) larger brains — associated with slow or delayed ageing by between three and six years.
Researchers also stated that daytime sleep was hard in many careers, with work culture often frowning on the practice.
Dr Victoria Garfield told BBC: "We are suggesting that everybody could potentially experience some benefit from napping” as she described the findings as "quite novel and quite exciting".
Dr Garfield said: "Advice to nap is something quite easy to do in comparison to weight loss or exercise which are difficult for a lot of people.”
When humans age, their brain naturally shrinks however, whether naps could prevent brain diseases require long research. But brain health is crucial as disturbed sleep is linked with dementia.
According to researchers, poor sleep is damaging the brain over time by causing inflammation and affecting the connections between brain cells.
"Thus, regular napping could protect against neurodegeneration by compensating for deficient sleep," researcher Valentina Paz said.
Dr Garfield, however, said: "Honestly, I would rather spend 30 minutes exercising than napping, I'll probably try and recommend that my mum does it."
No doubt napping is beneficial for health but it may also lead you to nap more as your health makes you tired.
The findings published in the journal Sleep Health showed a 15 cubic centimetre difference — equivalent to 2.6 to 6.5 years of ageing.
“Total brain volumes were about 1,480 cubic centimetres in the study.”
"I enjoy short naps on the weekends and this study has convinced me that I shouldn't feel lazy napping, it may even be protecting my brain," Professor Tara Spires-Jones, from the University of Edinburgh and the president of the British Neuroscience Association, told BBC.
She said the "interesting findings study showed a small but significant increase in brain volume and adds to the data indicating that sleep is important for brain health."
The researchers did not directly study having a big sleep in the middle of the day, but said the science pointed towards a cut-off of half an hour.