Do post-lunch naps pump up memory and thinking skills?

A senior woman at home on her couch, taking a nap during the day. She is resting peacefully under a gray blanket in her living room.

A little afternoon snooze can help you feel more rested — and it might do you good in other ways, too. A small study from China published online Jan. 25, 2021, by General Psychiatry suggests that afternoon naps (between five minutes and two hours long) may be good for your memory and thinking skills.

Researchers put more than 2,200 older adults through a series of health screenings that included blood tests and cognitive assessments, and also asked participants whether and how often they napped. About 1,500 of the participants were nappers. Compared with people who didn’t nap, the nappers performed better on cognitive tests, scoring better on location awareness, verbal fluency, and memory.

The study was observational, so it can’t prove that napping caused the better cognitive test results. Previous studies have shown that afternoon nap benefits decline as age and nap duration increase. Short, frequent naps (less than 30 minutes, four times per week) have been associated with reduced risks for developing Alzheimer’s disease. In contrast, people who take long naps (two hours or longer) appear to have worse cognitive function, although it is unclear what is cause and what is effect.

Bible verses for today’s meditation and inspiration: Matthew E. McLaren

Acts 4:18-31 And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”     

2 Chronicles 25:19 “You said, ‘Behold, you have defeated Edom.’ And your heart has become proud in boasting. Now stay at home; for why should you provoke trouble so that you, even you, would fall and Judah with you?”

1 Samuel 2:3 “Boast no more so very proudly, Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth; For the LORD is a God of knowledge, And with Him actions are weighed.

Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes dishonor, But with the humble is wisdom.

Proverbs 16:5 Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Assuredly, he will not be unpunished.

Micah 2:3 Therefore thus says the LORD, “Behold, I am planning against this family a calamity From which you cannot remove your necks; And you will not walk haughtily, For it will be an evil time.

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