Napping can be good for seniors – as long as they don’t sleep too much. A new study in the July issue of the journal SLEEP studied the sleep habits of 1,166 Israeli seniors ages 75 to 94. The results favored older people who take daily naps to supplement short sleep periods during the night. Seniors who slept more than nine hours per night, however, had higher mortality rates, with or without a nap.
The study surveyed the Israeli seniors and followed up on their mortality rates 20 years later. Sleeping more than nine hours a night was significantly related to increased mortality in comparison with sleeping seven to nine hours. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends seven to nine hours of sleep each day for adults.
Researchers also found a protective effect of daily naps for folks over age 84 who slept fewer than seven hours each night. The study concluded that determining healthy sleep habits among seniors should include an entire 24-hour period. Basing them on nighttime sleep duration or daytime napping alone was inadequate.