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Regular afternoon napping promotes cognitive function in the elderly, according to research published in the online journal General Psychiatry conducted in china.
2214 elderly from Beijing, Shanghai, and Xian were selected in the study, including 1534 took a regular afternoon nap, and 680 didn’t.
They all received cognitive evaluations by the Beijing version of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, the Mini-Mental State Examination, and the Chinese version of the Neuropsychological Test Battery. Among all the subjects, 739 elderly volunteered to take blood lipid tests.
They observed significant differences in cognitive function and blood lipids between the napping and the non-napping groups.
They associated afternoon napping with better cognitive function, including orientation, language, and memory in the study.
Subjects with the habit of afternoon napping also showed a higher level of triglyceride than the non-napping subjects.
As people age, their sleep patterns change, with afternoon naps becoming more frequent. It has also been confirmed that disturbed night sleep is highly associated with an increased risk of cognitive decline and dementia (a disorder that interferes with occupational, domestic and social functioning because of the significant decline from one’s previous level of cognitive function).
The occurrences of dementia in the elderly can be reduced by modifying risk factors such as physical inactivity, hypertension, obesity and diabetes.
The Mini-Mental State Examination cognitive performance scores were significantly higher among the nappers than they were among those who didn’t nap.
And there were significant differences in locational awareness, verbal fluency, and memory, the researcher said.