An afternoon nap may help seniors compensate for the sleeping problems that tend to occur with age, according to the results of a study reported in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (January 2005). The study also found that individuals between the ages of 55 and 85 who had the opportunity to nap between 2PM and 4PM did better on tests of mental ability on both the day of the nap and the day after the nap.
For the study, the researchers asked 32 participants (16 men and 16 women) to take a nap or stay awake and participate in quiet activities such as reading or watching television from 2PM to 4PM each day for 3 days. The researchers tested the participants'alertness after napping in a series of mental exercises and monitored their sleep the night after napping or engaging in quiet activities. The participants in the sleep group who took naps averaged 81 minutes of sleep. The researchers learned that individuals who napped slept just as well the night after as they did after the relaxing activities.