Chinese scientists from Shanghai argue that naps in old age improve brain function and memory, and is also associated with increased speech fluency and confident orientation in space.
More than 2 thousand people aged 60 and over took part in the scientific project. Of this number, approximately 1.5 thousand people more or less regularly had afternoon naps, and 680 people did not. On average, subjects from both groups slept for 6-7 hours at night. Afternoon naps were defined as a period of sleep of at least 5 consecutive minutes, but no more than 2 hours. The frequency of daytime sleep among the respondents varied from 1 time per week to daily.
The researchers compared the results of cognitive tests for participants in both groups. It turned out that significantly better results were shown by people who slept during the day. The project participants who had an afternoon nap demonstrated more confident spatial coordination, higher fluency of speech, and good memory.
Scientists believe that sleep is necessary for us to regulate the immune response. Perhaps naps are an evolutionary response to inflammation. This is confirmed by the fact that sick people with high levels of inflammation also sleep more.