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Short Daytime Naps and Brain Size

A recent study conducted using data from the U.K. Biobank suggests that there may be a correlation between taking short daytime naps and less brain volume shrinkage as people age.

Researchers from University College London and Uruguay’s University of the Republic examined information from adults aged 40 to 69 and found a causal link between habitual napping and larger total brain volume.

Previous research has already indicated that napping can provide cognitive benefits, particularly immediately after a nap. However, this study aimed to determine if there is an actual causal relationship between napping and brain health. Analyzing data from nearly 379,000 participants, the researchers concluded that habitual napping was associated with slower brain shrinkage over time, equivalent to delaying the aging process by 2.6 to 6.5 years.

While it is important to consider the distinction between correlation and causation, this study suggests a correlation between napping and less brain shrinkage, while other studies have connected less brain shrinkage with a reduced likelihood of cognitive decline in later years. However, it does not definitively prove that napping directly causes these benefits.

As a business leader, it is crucial not to underestimate the importance of sleep, both by ensuring you get a full seven hours of sleep at night and allowing yourself the opportunity for short daytime naps. Additionally, as a position of influence in your organization, you have the power to reduce the stigma surrounding napping by letting your employees know that it is acceptable to take short naps. Encouraging a nap-friendly culture could potentially contribute to improved productivity and overall well-being in the workplace.

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