Better Cognition for Older Adults Who Nap After Lunch

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Moderate nappers scored higher than non-nappers, short nappers, extended nappers
Moderate nappers scored higher than non-nappers, short nappers, extended nappers

HealthDay News — Moderate post-lunch napping is tied to better cognition in older adults, according to a study published online Dec. 20 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Junxin Li, PhD, from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues examined associations between self-reported post-lunch napping and structured cognitive assessments in older Chinese adults (≥65 years). Napping was characterized by length: non-nappers (0 minutes), short nappers (<30 minutes), moderate nappers (30 to 90 minutes), and extended nappers (>90 minutes).

The researchers found that 57.7 percent of participants reported napping (mean time, 63 minutes). There was a significant association between cognitive function and napping (P<0.001). Moderate nappers had better overall cognition than non-nappers (P<0.001) or extended nappers (P=0.01). Non-nappers also had significantly poorer cognition compared to short nappers (P = 0.03). After controlling for demographic characteristics, body mass index, depression, instrumental activities of daily living, social activities, and nighttime sleep duration, moderate napping was significantly associated with better cognition than non- (P=0.004), short (P=0.04), and extended napping (P=0.002).

"Longitudinal studies with objective napping measures are needed to further test this hypothesis," the authors write.

Reference

Li J, Cacchione P, Hodgson N, Riegel B, et al. Afternoon Napping and Cognition in Chinese Older Adults: Findings from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study Baseline Assessment. Journal of the American Geriatric Society. 2016; doi: 10.1111/jgs.14368View/save citation

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