Regular afternoon nap can keep your brain sharp – Reality or myth?
You all know how important the brain is for each one of you. Your brain is arguably the most important organ of your body. It not only controls and coordinates your actions and reactions but also allows you to think and feel—all the things that make you a human! And thus, there is no doubt that keeping the brain healthy and sharp is of utmost importance – which at times you may fail to do amidst a busy lifestyle. Also Read – Mediterranean diet rich in green leafy vegetables can keep you mentally sharp in later life However, a new study has revealed that taking a regular afternoon nap can keep your brain sharp. Yes, you read that right – afternoon napping is linked to better mental agility. Also Read – Beware! Obesity can lead to severe brain pressure disorder
Afternoon Nap Can Keep Your Brain Healthy – Here’s How
The researchers, including Wei Li from the Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China, suggest that afternoon nap seems to be associated with better locational awareness, verbal fluency, and working memory. Also Read – Genes linked to common brain disorder, Chiari 1 malformation, identified According to the experts, for the study, published in the journal General Psychiatry, the researchers involved 2,214 ostensibly healthy people aged at least 60 and residents of several large cities around China. In all, 1,534 took a regular afternoon nap, while 680 did not. All participants underwent a series of health checks and cognitive assessments, including the Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE) to check for dementia. The average length of nighttime sleep was around 6.5 hours in both groups. Afternoon naps were defined as periods of at least five consecutive minutes of sleep, but no more than 2 hours, and taken after lunch.
Cognitive Performance Scores Were Higher Among The Nappers
Participants were asked how often they napped during the week — this ranged from once a week to every day. The dementia screening tests included 30 items that measured several aspects of cognitive ability, and higher function, including visuospatial skills, working memory, attention span, problem-solving, locational awareness, and verbal fluency. The MMSE cognitive performance scores were significantly higher among the nappers than they were among those who did not nap. And there were significant differences in locational awareness, verbal fluency, and memory.
Importance Of Napping For Your Overall Health
This is an observational study, and so can’t establish the cause. And there was no information on the duration or timing of the naps taken, which may be important, the researchers said. But there are some possible explanations for the observations found, say the researchers. One theory is that inflammation is a mediator between mid-day naps and poor health outcomes; inflammatory chemicals have an important role in sleep disorders, note the researchers. Sleep regulates the body’s immune response and napping is thought to be an evolved response to inflammation; people with higher levels of inflammation also nap more often, explain the researchers. Also, not just napping, a proper lifestyle and a healthy diet are key for a healthy brain. Here are some of the foods you should include in your diet for your brain to function better: 1. Have more omega-3s, such as – fatty fish, avocados, etc. 2. Include nuts and berries in your daily diet. 3. If you love to start your day with a cup of coffee then you will be glad to hear that it’s good for your brain. 4. Have more green and leafy vegetables in your lunch and dinner. 5. Have eggs every day. Eggs are highly rich in B vitamins and choline – these are important for proper brain functioning and development. Also, vitamins in eggs can help you in regulating mood. And apart from everything mentioned above, follow a proper exercise routine every day. Exercising daily will not only keep your brain happy but also keep a check on your overall health.