Napping During the Day Can Benefit Our Brain

A nap can be a sweet gift in today's busy society. Now, scientists suggests that a daytime nap is helpful for our brains.

Today's fast-paced society and hustle culture often makes it difficult for people to rest and sleep peacefully. Unfortunately, about one in three American adults do not get enough sleep per night, according to CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The National Institutes of Health recommends adults get at least seven to nine total hours of sleep every night. Insufficient sleep can often lead to various symptoms, including irritability, memory complications, and mood issues.

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According to University College London and the University of the Republic in Uruguay scientists, regularly scheduling a little nap benefits our brain and keeps it larger for a longer period of time. Researchers discovered that nappers' brains were 15 cubic centimeters bigger, the equivalent of postponing aging by three to six years.

"We are suggesting that everybody could potentially experience some benefit from napping," says UCL's Victoria Garfield.

She called the findings, published in Sleep Health, exciting and unusual. For newborns, napping has been demonstrated to be essential for growth. However, with aging, it becomes less popular, and only 27% of adults over 65 report napping throughout the day.

According to Garfield, napping can be effortless compared to weight reduction or exercise, which are "difficult for a lot of people." Although the brain typically decreases with aging, further study is needed to determine whether naps might help prevent illnesses like Alzheimer's.

While naps may improve health, the opposite is true since your health may make you so exhausted that you require more naps. To dig into the concept, researchers developed a creative method to demonstrate the advantages of sleeping.

They employed a sizable natural experiment based on the DNA or genetic code that every one of us is born with. Previous research has found 97 DNA sequences that either increase our propensity to sleep or improve our ability to stay awake throughout the day.

Therefore, the team then compared those genetic "nappers" and "non-nappers" using data from 35,000 participants in the U.K. Biobank project, aged 40 to 69.

The study found a difference of 15 cubic centimeters, or 2.6 to 6.5 years of aging.

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Overall, preserving brain health is essential to preventing dementia, which has been linked to insomnia. The specialists claim chronic sleep deprivation damages the brain by agitating it and changing the connections between brain cells.

Although the team didn't analyze nap time specifically, it is estimated to be approximately 30 minutes or less.

As a nation, we are not getting enough sleep. Lifestyle changes such as going to bed at the same time each night; rising at the same time each morning; and turning off or removing televisions, computers, mobile devices from the bedroom, can help people get the healthy sleep they need.

- Wayne Giles

Co-author Valentina Paz concludes that regular naps can compensate for insufficient sleep and prevent neurodegeneration, which describes the deterioration of the neurological system, usually of brain neurons.

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