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Can Afternoon Naps Boost Your Mental Agility?

Do you often take an afternoon nap? Are there any benefits of afternoon naps? Can afternoon naps boost your mental agility? To get answers to all these questions, read further and discover by yourself.

Can Afternoon Naps Boost Your Mental Agility?

It has been said by some researchers that people above 60 years of age who took afternoon naps, performed better on cognitive tests as compared to people who did not take an afternoon nap. Experts also say that afternoon naps help people of any age by resting their brains and clearing out their puzzled daily thoughts. However, afternoon naps must be limited. Let us know more about it.

A new study has suggested that afternoon naps might make you mentally sharper if you are above the age of 60 years.(1) According to researchers of the study, it was explained that older adults who had taken afternoon naps scored higher on a cognitive test than those who did not.

The study was published in the journal General Psychiatry. This study looked at both, the physical and cognitive health among 2214 people who were above 60 years of age residing in large cities in China. Out of these, 1534 participants took regular afternoon naps while 680 did not take the nap in the afternoon.

Can Afternoon Naps Boost Your Mental Agility?

It was found from the observational study that the people taking afternoon naps scored “significantly higher” on the MMSE or Mini-Mental State Exam, which is a standardized dementia screening test that includes assessments of attention spans, visuospatial skills, problem-solving skills, working memory, verbal fluency, and locational awareness.

Sleep has a lot to do with your ability to learn. Napping helps our brain to recover from the overload of information or burnout. When we take afternoon naps, our brain clears unnecessary information out of the temporary storage areas and helps it to prepare it for the new information that is to be absorbed.

Other Benefits Of Afternoon Naps:

Apart from increasing your mental agility, afternoon naps also have other benefits. Afternoon naps can greatly improve your mood, energy, and productivity and also reduce physical and mental tension, along with anxiety.

A short nap during the afternoon can make you feel more alert and ready to tackle the rest of your day without feeling confused, or disoriented.

Why You Must Not Overdo The Afternoon Naps?

It is indeed that afternoon naps boost your mental agility. However, if you overdo the afternoon naps, you might have some problems.

More than 1 in every 3 Americans take a nap every day, as per a survey of 2009 done by the Pew Research Center.(2)

It has been noted by some researchers that though afternoon naps boost your mental agility, it is still unclear if napping can prevent cognitive decline due to aging.

Short afternoon naps, especially less than 30 minutes or so, have been found to increase your alertness and also improve mood for the rest of the day. However, long naps during afternoons or if you overdo napping, might be problematic.

If you overdo napping in the afternoon, it can mess up your sleep cycle and you might not feel sleepy at night and this can cause a disrupted sleep cycle. Apart from this, long afternoon naps can also make you feel lazy and also cause you to feel low.

Some studies show that long afternoon naps can increase inflammation in our body, which includes inflammations in various vital organs like the heart. It can spike your risk of several other conditions, such as liver and heart disease. So, you should ensure that if you take a nap in the afternoon, it is a short one.

Final Words:

So, now that we know that afternoon naps can boost your mental agility, make it a habit of taking afternoon naps if possible. However, make sure not to overdo it.


Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 27, 2021

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