Napping in Older Adults: a Review of Current Literature

Zeyu Zhang, Xueling Xiao, Weixia Ma, Junxin Li

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: Daytime napping—frequently reported among older populations—has attracted increasing attention in geriatric research due to its association with multiple health conditions. This review aims to integrate the latest knowledge about napping in older adults to provide implications for future research. Recent Findings: The prevalence of napping in older adults ranges from 20 to 60% in different studies, but has been consistently reported to be higher than in other age groups. Age-related changes in circadian rhythm and sleep patterns, cultural beliefs, chronic conditions, medications, and lifestyle changes contribute to the high prevalence of napping in older adults. Daytime napping has been associated with multiple health conditions in older adults. Naps of short duration (e.g., 30 min) are reported in adults with better health; naps with longer durations (e.g., > 90 min) have been linked to adverse cardiovascular and diabetes outcomes, declining cognitive function, and increased mortality. Current evidence in the literature, however, is not enough for us to determine the exact role of napping in the health of older adults. Summary: Longitudinal and interventional studies are needed to investigate the influence of napping and the critical parameters such as duration, timing, and frequency on health in older adults and the underlying mechanisms. A combination of objective and self-reported measurements of napping is recommended instead of self-reported data only.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-135
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Sleep Medicine Reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • Daytime napping
  • Health
  • Older adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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