Napping for an hour may boost brain power

Catching some shut-eye after lunch can improve memory and thinking skills, says study

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Want to boost your brain function, but aren't big on broccoli?

Take a nap instead! Findings from a new study suggest napping for an hour in the afternoon may give older adults a mental boost, helping improve memory and thinking skills.

See also: Chocolate is good for the brain, says study

See also: What does the way you sleep say about you?

The research, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, found that people who slept for an hour after lunch performed better on mental tests than those who didn't nap.

Researchers looked at nearly 3,000 adults in China over the age of 65.

Just under 60% reported napping after lunch, with the average nap lasting around one hour.

All participants did daily tests that measured attention, memory, maths skills, word recall and figure drawing.

Those who didn't nap, took short naps or very long naps showed decreases in their cognitive skills that were four to six times greater than people who napped for an hour.

What's more, those who took shorter or longer naps or didn't nap at all experienced about the same decline in mental abilities that's comparable to a five-year increase in age, according to Health-in-Aging.org which tracked the study.

The team says more studies are needed.