Good news for fans of napping, as researchers have found that regular daytime naps could be good for brain health. 

It comes as daytime napping slows down the rate at which brains shrink as we age, according to researchers at UCL and the University of the Republic in Uruguay.

The researchers shared that they wanted to share their findings for sleeping during the day to help reduce the stigma that still exists around daytime napping. 

The study suggests that the average difference in brain volume between people programmed to be habitual nappers and those who were not was equivalent to 2.6 to 6.5 years of ageing.

Regular napping is good for your brain health

Speaking of the new research Senior author Dr Victoria Garfield, MRC Unit for Lifelong Health & Ageing at UCL, said: “Our findings suggest that, for some people, short daytime naps may be a part of the puzzle that could help preserve the health of the brain as we get older.”

Lancashire Telegraph: That extra nap could help your brain. That extra nap could help your brain. (Image: Canva)

The study, published in the journal Sleep Health, analysed data from people aged 40 to 69.

Previous research found that people who have had a short nap perform better in cognitive tests in the hours afterwards than those who did not nap.

The new study also looked at whether there was a causal relationship between daytime napping and brain health.

Looking at 97 snippets of DNA, researchers looked to determine people’s likelihood of habitual napping.

They compared measures of brain health and cognition of people who are more genetically programmed to nap with people who did not have these changes in DNA, using data from 378,932 people from the UK Biobank study.

They found that, overall, people predetermined to nap had a larger total brain volume.

Lancashire Telegraph: 30 minute naps will keep your brain healthy.30 minute naps will keep your brain healthy. (Image: Canva)

Lead author and PhD candidate Valentina Paz, University of the Republic (Uruguay) and MRC Unit for Lifelong Health & Ageing at UCL, said: “This is the first study to attempt to untangle the causal relationship between habitual daytime napping and cognitive and structural brain outcomes.

“By looking at genes set at birth, Mendelian randomisation avoids confounding factors occurring throughout life that may influence associations between napping and health outcomes.

“Our study points to a causal link between habitual napping and larger total brain volume.”

Dr Garfield added: “I hope studies such as this one showing the health benefits of short naps can help to reduce any stigma that still exists around daytime napping.”