Afternoon Napping and Cognition in Chinese Older Adults: Findings from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study Baseline Assessment

Authors


Abstract

Objectives

To examine the cross-sectional associations between self-reported postlunch napping and structured cognitive assessments in Chinese older adults.

Design

Cross-sectional cohort study.

Setting

China.

Participants

Individuals aged 65 and older from the baseline national wave of the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) (N = 2,974).

Measurements

Interview-based cognitive assessments of orientation and attention, episodic memory, visuospatial abilities, and a combined global cognition score incorporating these assessments. Other self-reported or interview-based assessments included postlunch napping duration, nighttime sleep duration, demographic characteristics, health habits, comorbidities, functional status and social activities. According to reported napping duration, older adults were categorized as non-nappers (0 minutes), short nappers (<30 minutes), moderate nappers (30–90 minutes), and extended nappers (>90 minutes).

Results

Postlunch napping was reporting in 57.7% of participants for a mean of 63 minutes. Cognitive function was significantly associated with napping (P < .001). Between-group comparisons showed that moderate nappers had better overall cognition than nonnappers (P < .001) or extended nappers (P = .01). Nonnappers also had significantly poorer cognition than short nappers (P = .03). In multiple regression analysis, moderate napping was significantly associated with better cognition than non- (P = .004), short (P = .04), and extended napping (P = .002), after controlling for demographic characteristics, body mass index, depression, instrumental activities of daily living, social activities, and nighttime sleep duration.

Conclusion

A cross-sectional association was found between moderate postlunch napping and better cognition in Chinese older adults. The cross-sectional design and self-reported measures of sleep limited the findings. Longitudinal studies with objective napping measures are needed to further test this hypothesis.

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