Daytime naps improve memory and cut the risk of heart attacks.
Scientists found that people who napped for 30 to 90 minutes had better word recall – which is a sign of good memory – than people who did not nap or who napped for longer than 90 minutes. People who napped for that golden 30 to 90 minutes were also better at figure drawing, another sign of good cognition.
One theory explaining poor cognition in those who take longer naps: Resting more during the day may be a sign of poor quality nighttime sleep, according to Gamaldo. “In the study, naps longer than 90 minutes could have been called ‘a second sleep.’”
This poor quality nighttime sleep – the kind that requires extra-long napping during the day – can lead to cognitive problems, she adds.