A Nap a Day Could Keep Memory Loss At Bay

Napping during the day could help older people keep mentally sharp by reducing brain shrinkage. From the age of 35, the brain shrinks by 0.2% to 0.5% per year, and by even more after the age of 60. This can contribute to “senior moments" (memory lapses) and cognitive impairment. A recent study suggests that people who make a habit of napping during the day have a larger brain volume, meaning their brain may shrink less over time. Compared to people who don’t nap, regular nappers could have a brain that’s 2½ to 6½ years younger on average. That’s because naps allow people to catch up on vital sleep, which can be of poorer quality past middle age. Statistics show that more than a quarter of people over 65 nap during the day, and there’s evidence that those naps can be as little as 15 minutes and provide major benefits. The optimal time for a nap — whether it's a 15-minute nap or a 3-hour nap — is right after lunch.