Who doesn’t love a good nap?
I know I do…
And now, we don’t even have to feel guilty about it.
That’s because new research reveals something deep within your brain may be hard at work while you take it easy.
Let me explain…
Did you know some people may be more genetically inclined to nap?
So, researchers looked more into it. They compared those with a genetic predisposition to napping against those without—and analyzed how it affected their brain.
In fact, they examined 97 sections of genetic code previously linked to an increased likelihood of regular napping… and compared them against measures of brain health and cognition (through MRI scans and quick cognitive function tests).
Researchers specifically measured brain volume, hippocampal volume, reaction time, and visual memory.
And the most interesting finding was this…
It turns out, brain volume differed by about 15.8 cubic centimeters, which is equivalent to around 2.6-6.5 years of aging.
And do you know what that suggests?
That napping is good—important, even—for the aging brain. It could stave off close to seven years of aging!
Quality sleep is always essential
Now, as with most things brain-related, we don’t yet understand why this occurred. Or why napping didn’t affect other areas of the brain—like hippocampal volume, reaction time, or visual memory.
But there must be a reason older adults and seniors tend to nap more. In fact, the oldest and youngest humans do this—and this study may help us understand why…
Napping gives us more brain volume. (Which is important for the developing and aging brain.)
Of course, we don’t have a definitive “sweet spot” for how long to take that daily snooze. And I have to wonder if too much napping is the reason for no association between hippocampal volume and cognitive outcomes?
The hippocampus is essential for learning and memory, so it would be nice to know.
In the end, while this study leaves us with some unanswered questions, one thing is clear…
Sleep is important for brain health.
That’s why I always recommend getting quality shuteye each and every night. Aim for seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep. And never rely on a daily nap to make up for that nighttime rest.
For an simple, comprehensive, drug-free plan to cure your insomnia and enjoy restful sleep each night, check out my Perfect Sleep Protocol.
“Regular Napping Linked to Greater Brain Volume.” Medscape, 06/21/2023. (medscape.com/viewarticle/993489)