Regular Napping Linked to Greater Brain Volume & Better Brain Health

27 Jun 2023 • Daily napping may help preserve brain health, new research suggests. The study, published Monday in the journal Sleep Health, analysed data from people aged 40 to 69 and found a causal link between habitual napping and larger total brain volume -- a marker of good brain health linked to a lower risk of dementia and other diseases.

The new study aimed to establish if there was a causal relationship between daytime napping and brain health. Previous research has shown that napping has cognitive benefits, with people who have had a short nap performing better in cognitive tests in the hours afterwards than counterparts who did not nap.

  • Researchers used a technique called Mendelian randomization to analyze DNA samples and brain scans from 35,080 people aged 40 to 69 involved in the UK Biobank study, a large biomedical database and research resource that followed UK residents from 2006 to 2010.
  • Study outcomes included total brain volume, hippocampal volume, reaction time, and visual memory.
  • "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,” said senior author Victoria Garfield, a senior research fellow at UCL, in a statement.

Future studies could focus on the associations between napping and other cognitive or brain outcomes and replication of these findings using other datasets and methods, the study concluded.

Source: Sleep Health | Read full story

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