Relation Between Regular Naps and Brain Volume

In Education

According to new research, daytime sleep could assist in conserving brain health by decelerating the shrinkage of our brains. The study involved participants with ages ranging from 40-69, discovering a relation between huge brain volume and regular napping.

The study’s senior author, Doctor Victoria Garfield, says the findings unveil how frequent daytime napping could conserve brain health as individuals age. In addition, past research has pointed out that regular daytime sleep has cognitive merits. Individuals who chose to nap performed better in mental examinations after hours of sleep than those who decided not to. The new research focused on finding a relationship between brain health and regular napping.

How researchers conducted the study

The research team relied on a method referred to as Mendelian randomization. The team investigated 97 DNA extracts that influenced an individual’s chances of regular napping. Moreover, the team compared individuals with a higher genetic predisposition for napping, evaluating their brain health and cognitive abilities, to those who were less likely due to the lack of those genetic variants. Information was collected from 378,932 persons.

In brain volume, the mean difference between individuals likely to nap due to genetic variations and those less likely was 2.6-6.5 years. However, the team didn’t examine how regular nappers performed on three brain measures: visual processing, response time, and hippocampal volume.

Past studies that have evaluated the topic

A past study recognized the genetic variations affecting our tendency to nap. It involved 452,633 participants from the UK Biobank. Doctor Hassan Dashti, another author of the new research, used self-reported sleep to identify these variants. Measuring physical activity using a wrist-worn accelerometer supported it too.

In new research, scientists analyzed cognitive outcomes for individuals with the same variants while considering a subset of the variants. It involved 35080 participants from the Biobank, all with genetic information and MRI.

One limitation of the study was that the participants were all white. This meant it could have given a broad picture regarding other ethnicities. The team intends to conduct more studies to confirm its findings. This study adds to the benefits of sleep that we already know.

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