The Power of Napping: Boosting Brain Health and Delaying Ageing

In a fast-paced world that often glorifies productivity and discourages rest, it may come as a surprise that taking regular naps can actually benefit our brain health. Researchers from University College London have discovered that incorporating short naps into our routine can help maintain brain size and potentially delay the aging process. While napping may be challenging due to work culture or other commitments, the evidence suggests that everyone can reap the rewards of a little midday slumber.

The Science Behind Napping

The study conducted by the researchers at University College London revealed that individuals who regularly took naps had brains that were approximately 15 cubic centimeters larger. This increase in brain volume corresponds to a potential delay in aging by three to six years. However, the researchers recommend keeping naps to less than 30 minutes to avoid grogginess upon waking.

Napping: A Simple Solution for Brain Health

Unlike other lifestyle changes such as weight loss or exercise, incorporating naps into our routine is a relatively easy way to support brain health. Dr. Victoria Garfield, one of the researchers, emphasizes that napping is accessible and can be beneficial for everyone. While the study focused on older adults, napping has been recognized as critical for development during infancy and has seen a resurgence in popularity after retirement.

Protecting Against Neurodegeneration

The brain naturally undergoes changes as we age, including shrinkage. However, the research team believes that napping could potentially offer protection against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's. Disturbed sleep has been linked to an increased risk of dementia, and the researchers suggest that regular napping may compensate for inadequate sleep by reducing inflammation and preserving the connections between brain cells.

Supporting Evidence

To confirm the benefits of napping, the researchers utilized a unique approach. They examined data from the UK Biobank project, which involved 35,000 individuals aged 40 to 69. By comparing the genetic variations associated with being a "napper" or a "non-napper," the team identified a significant 15 cubic centimeter difference in brain volume, equivalent to 2.6 to 6.5 years of aging. While more research is needed to determine the exact mechanisms and potential disease prevention, the findings support the idea that sleep is vital for brain health.


In a world where sleep deprivation is all too common, taking a short nap can be a simple yet effective way to support brain health and potentially slow down the aging process. While work culture and daily commitments may make it challenging to incorporate napping into our routines, finding opportunities for a brief snooze can have long-term benefits. So, the next time you feel the need to recharge, remember that a quick nap is not a sign of laziness but a powerful tool for maintaining a healthy and resilient brain.


Paz, V., Dashti, H. S., & Garfield, V. (2023). Is there an association between daytime napping, cognitive function, and brain volume? A Mendelian randomization study in the UK Biobank. Sleep Health. Retrieved from

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