“I have seen in many of my patients with Alzheimer’s disease that they do start to sleep more and they do tend to nap more during the day as their cognition declines. But I was surprised to see that napping actually perhaps promoted the appearance and the emergence of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dylan Wint, MD, neurologist for Cleveland Clinic.
Though Wint did not participate in the study, he emphasized the importance of not stressing over the findings. He noted that what really matters is why an individual is napping more frequently and longer than usual. Reasoning can range from a sleep disorder to simple boredom. In cases like that, Wint recommends taking up activities that will stimulate you throughout the day.
If you do need to nap, Wint recommends sticking to 45 minutes or less.
“It really is important to let your doctor know if something is not right about your sleep because sleep is a key component of maintaining health of the brain and the body,” said Dr. Wint.
More research is needed to determine whether less napping could slow down cognitive age-related decline.