HEALTH

Afternoon naps could slow brain aging: a study explains why

Would you ever have thought that taking an afternoon nap, besides giving you immense joie de vivre and being one of life's great pleasures, could be crucial in counteracting the ageing of the brain that occurs in old age?

The nap would indeed be useful in counteracting organ shrinkage by helping it maintain a larger volume, and compensating for the lack of night sleep, as well as protecting the brain against neurodegeneration.

The study was conducted by British and Hungarian researchers and could lead to unexpected breakthroughs.

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A remedy against brain aging: the afternoon nap
Would you ever have thought that taking an afternoon nap, besides giving you immense joie de vivre and being one of life's great pleasures, could be crucial in counteracting the ageing of the brain that occurs in old age? The nap would be really useful, in fact, in counteracting the reduction of the organ by helping it to maintain a greater volume, and compensating for the scarcity of sleep at night, as well as protecting the brain against neurodegeneration.
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The study
The study was conducted by researchers from the University College of London and the University of the Republic in Uruguay, and was published in the journal 'Sleep Health'.
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How the study was conducted
For this research, the researchers were aided by data from the UK Biobank, a database that contains information on the genetics, lifestyle and health of 500,000 people between the ages of 40 and 69. The researchers processed data from 35,080 individuals to see if genetic variants, associated in previous studies with a tendency to daytime napping, were also linked to brain volume and other aspects of brain health. One of the most complicated things was trying to reduce the impact of external factors such as smoking or physical activity on the data to zero.
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What the study said
Finally, this research was able to reveal an association between a genetic predisposition to habitual daytime napping and greater brain volume, which calculated equates to 2.6-6.5 years less ageing.
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Victoria Garfield's words.
Victoria Garfield of University College London, co-author of the study, states that: "Habitually taking a short daytime nap could help preserve brain volume and this is a good thing, potentially, for dementia prevention. This study is important because it adds to those that argue that sleep is important for brain health'.
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