Tuesday, February 02, 2021

A brief afternoon nap is probably good for your brain.

On some days I feel midafternoon drowsyness that makes it difficult for me to think or write. I lie down and do "a 10 minute naplet." After zonking out, I then suddenly awaken to find my watch reading exactly 10 min later. Over the next 30 seconds or so I completely awaken and feel mentally fresh, like a brain scrub has happened. There is debate, however, on whether brief day time napping is beneficial or detrimental to our health, especially as we age. Rich Harrity now points to a study of 2014 elderly Chinese suggesting that an afternoon nap of more than 5 min and less than 2 hours duration correlates with better overall cognitive function including orientation, language, and memory. Other studies have shown that more than 2 hours of napping during the day is detrimental to cognitive function. One speculation is that brief sleep during the day might lower the level of brain inflammatory markers know to compromise cognitive function.

1 comment:

  1. studies on pilots on long haul flights show they consistently micro-sleep for up to 40 seconds at a time, when they think they are awake. Airlines have started to incorporate sleep periods into their shifts. Anecdotally I find when I get the sleepy eyes/head nods (which can be especially dangerous driving for example) in the afternoon, instead of fighting it, I sleep for ten minutes. I'm never able to sleep longer and often it is shorter. I've stopped my car and slept for perhaps 2 minutes at times, and feel much less sleepy afterwards.