Younger people, especially children, don’t like a nap. People who get older like it more. A recent Chinese study explains that the nap allows for better mental flexibility after a certain age.
Is the nap beneficial for the brain?
In 2019, we reported on a Chinese study that concluded that napping in elementary school had many benefits. The study of children aged 10 to 12 showed that the nap after lunch resulted in better self-control, a greater sense of happiness, fewer behavioral problems, and therefore a greater academic achievement. What about older people? Another Chinese study published in the journal General psychiatry January 2, 2021 focused on 2,214 people over 60. Volunteers were asked to describe their sleeping and napping habits before being tested. The goal? Measure their cognitive abilities, especially their concentration in problem solving.
Study participants did not have not all the same times and frequencies regarding the nap. However, the analyzes revealed a general trend: volunteers taking regular naps in the middle of the day had better cognitive abilities than the others. The researchers also highlighted better fluency of language as well as better memory.
Better physical and mental health
The conclusion of this study is consistent with other work in China in adults. In 2016, a study had concluded that taking a nap in the afternoon would help better preserve their cognitive faculties. Other studies – especially American – had also made a link between sleep and the immune system. The study of January 2, 2021 also provided an element in the same direction. According to researchers, an individual with disease or damage to their cells sees its regulated immune response thanks to the nap.
The studies cited therefore allow us to state with certainty that when we age, taking regular naps is an act beneficial for our physical and mental health. Note, however, that some people do not manage to take a nap during the day. A good opportunity to get started? Be careful though, some times are not suitable! In September 2020, a man in the middle of a nap was flashed on the road at more than 140 km / h while his Tesla Model 3 was in Autopilot mode!