Do you ever take an afternoon nap?

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found a short sleep in the afternoon improves people’s thinking and memory skills and makes the brain perform as if it were five years younger.

The team studied 3,000 elderly Chinese people and looked at whether those who frequently took afternoon naps performed better on mental ability tests.

Scientists found people who took a nap after lunch did better on the tests than those who did not sleep in the middle of the day. In total, 60 per cent of people in the study slept after lunch, with the average nap time being 63 minutes.

The study suggested an hour was the best length of nap; people who had longer or shorter rests performed up to six time worse on the tasks. Taking an afternoon nap of the right length is so beneficial that it has the same effect as being five years younger, the researchers said.

Many people on the continent take a regular afternoon nap or siesta and it is part of their culture.

Sir Winston Churchill was an advocate of afternoon naps. Naps were so sacrosanct to him that he kept a bed in the Houses of Parliament and believed that napping was the key to his success in leading the country through the Battle of Britain.

He said “Nature has not intended mankind to work from eight in the morning until midnight without that refreshment of blessed oblivion which, even if it only lasts twenty minutes, is sufficient to renew all the vital forces.”

What are your views?  Do you ever take an afternoon nap?  If you had the option, would you like to have a nap during your day? If you do take a nap currently, what benefits do you feel?

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