# Content

Could a short sleep during the day protect your brain?

This is News Review from BBC Learning English.

Our brains get smaller as we get older, but this doesn't happen as fast in people who take regular short sleeps during the day.

That's according to a new study.

Researchers suggest that these naps might reduce the risk of developing conditions like Alzheimer's in later life.

You've been looking at the headlines. What's the vocabulary?

We have 'power nap', 'sharp', and 'hinder'.

Let's have a look at our first headline.

This is from iNews.

Power naps linked to greater brain capacity, scientists say.

So brain capacity is about brain size and this headline says that it's linked to something called 'power naps'.

Now we're going to look at this phrase 'power naps', but Phil, the word 'nap'.

Isn't that a short sleep that babies have?

Well, anyone can have a nap, but we're looking at 'power naps'.

Now, these are short sleeps, usually during the working day in order to be able to do your job better.

And in fact, maybe I should have a power nap after recording this.

Well, that might be good for your brain.

That's what this headline is saying, but there are other types of nap, aren't there?

Yes, you might have heard of a 'cat nap' which is kind of similar, but it's not associated with work and we have other words to talk about sleep like 'snooze' or 'to nod off' and many others.

OK, well before our audience nods off. Let's look at that again.

... She took advantage of her lunch break to have a quick power nap...

Let's have our next headline.

Yeah. This one is from the Times.

Taking more naps could help you to stay sharp in later life.

Now, again, we're talking about naps and this article refers to another study which suggested that having naps can help our brains perform better.

The word we're looking at is 'sharp'.

Now, Phil, I know a sharp knife.

But what is a sharp brain?

Well, you've probably guessed that it's a metaphor.

If you describe someone as 'sharp', it means they're alert and they can think quickly.

Think about when you've had a good rest, and you're feeling good.

Everything just seems to be a bit easier.

Yep, and we use it to talk about people that always have a quick answer for something.

We can say that they are sharp or that they have a sharp mind.

Yes, and it's being used here to say that regular naps will keep your brain performing well.

Yes, just like how practising your English every day will keep your language skills sharp.

OK, let's look at that again.

... That's a great idea — you're sharp today!...

OK, next headline, please.

This one is from the Daily Express.

Naps could help or hinder your health, depending on their length, study suggests.

Now, this is actually referring to a different study and it says that long naps can be associated with obesity while shorter naps can reduce the risk of high blood pressure.

We are looking at the word 'hinder'.

And this is often used with the word 'help', isn't it?

It is, but it means the opposite. To 'hinder' means 'to make things harder' or worse.

Now, here we are looking at health.

So, the headline is saying that some naps — shorter ones — are helpful. While others — longer ones — are unhelpful.

That's right and 'hinder' is not that common in spoken English, but it is often used with the word 'help'.

And that's because of those two 'h's. Hinder and help.

So, for example, if something turns out to be less useful than you expected it to be.

It might actually hinder rather than help you.

I could also say that having to work hinders me being able to take naps regularly.

That's right.

OK, let's look at that again.

... Long working hours can hinder family life...

We've had 'power nap' — a short sleep during the day.

'Sharp' — alert and quick thinking.

'Hinder' — to make something difficult or worse.

Now, there's more about sleep in this video, where we ask 'Are late nights bad for your health?'

# Key Points

  1. The Impact of Daytime Naps on Brain Health 白天小睡对大脑健康的影响

    • Regular short naps during the day might help maintain brain size and capacity as people age.
    • Research suggests that such naps could potentially reduce the risk of conditions like Alzheimer's in later life.
  2. Exploring Vocabulary 探索词汇

    • 'Power nap': A short sleep taken during the day, often to enhance job performance.
    • 'Sharp': Being mentally alert, quick-witted, and capable of clear thinking.
    • 'Hinder': To make something more difficult or less effective, often used in contrast with 'help'.
      “阻碍”:使某事变得更加困难或效率降低,通常与 “帮助” 相对照使用。
  3. Positive Effects of Short Naps 短暂小睡的积极影响

    • Short naps are linked to improved brain performance and alertness.
    • They contribute to maintaining cognitive sharpness and quick thinking.
  4. Potential Negative Effects of Napping 午睡的潜在负面影响

    • Long naps can hinder health, possibly leading to obesity and other health issues.
    • The impact of naps on health varies based on their length and timing.

# Vocabulary and Usage

  1. Cognitive function 认知功能
    • Regular short naps can enhance cognitive function and mental agility.
  • Mental acuity 精神敏锐度

    • Napping during the day can help maintain mental acuity and clarity.
  • Counterproductive 适得其反

    • Excessive napping might be counterproductive if it disrupts nighttime sleep.
  • Alertness 警觉性

    • Short naps contribute to increased alertness and responsiveness.
  • Obesity risk 肥胖风险

    • Prolonged napping could be associated with a higher risk of obesity.
  • Blood pressure 血压

    • Short naps may have a positive effect on reducing high blood pressure.
  • Optimal duration 最佳持续时间

    • Researchers aim to determine the optimal duration of daytime naps.
  • Restorative rest 恢复性休息

    • A short nap can provide restorative rest and rejuvenate the mind.
  • Sleep patterns 睡眠模式

    • Napping should align with your overall sleep patterns to avoid disruption.
  • Health implications 健康影响

    • The health implications of napping depend on factors like duration and timing.

# Sentences

# Speaking

  • The study suggests that regular power naps can contribute to maintaining mental sharpness and cognitive function as we age.

  • A sharp mind is essential for problem-solving and quick decision-making, qualities that can be enhanced through strategic daytime napping.

  • It's important to consider whether napping can help or hinder our overall health, especially in terms of obesity and blood pressure.

# Writting

  • Regular power naps have been associated with improved mental acuity and cognitive function, potentially reducing the risk of cognitive decline in later life.

  • While short naps can enhance alertness and mental sharpness, longer naps may have counterproductive effects on health, contributing to obesity and high blood pressure.

  • As ongoing research investigates the relationship between napping and health, understanding the optimal duration and timing of naps is crucial for maintaining overall well-being.