According to a recent study, taking afternoon naps is linked to a healthy heart and overall better health.
Studies have suggested that people who have afternoon nap at least one or twice a week have a sharply reduced risk of suffering from a heart attack or stroke.
Having these quick kips has been shown to reduce the risk of suffering a heart attack, stroke or heart failure by half. According to researchers from University Hospital of Laussanne in Switzerland, the length of these naps does not really matter – just as long as you get a little shuteye.
After considering other influential factors such as age, blood pressure, and cholesterol readings, the connection between naps and heart health have shown to ring truth.
Unfortunately, having more than two naps did not reveal any more benefits. Actually, there were signs that people who did have more than the recommended two naps a week actually were less healthy overall.
Among the subjects they investigated, researchers found that those who took a siesta once or twice a week had reduced stress levels by letting themselves get some physical rest. Perhaps those needing a nap have underlying health issues which has made them feel fatigued.
The investigation was conducted as an observation. This means that the researchers could not prove that having a kip actually improved heart health.
In Britain, more than a quarter of all deaths are linked to heart and circulatory diseases, with somebody being submitted to hospital every five minutes due to heart attacks approximately every five minutes.
Over 36,000 deaths are caused by strokes across the country each year. It is also the biggest cause of severe disabilities, with over a million people living with heart failure.
The study was overseen in the city of Laussanne, overlooking 3,500 subjects who had no history of cardiovascular disease. The participants were recruited between 2003 and 2006, and each of the participants were aged between 35 and 75.
Over the course of a week, information on their sleep and napping patterns were collected. With their general health being monitored for a period of over five years.
58 per cent of the subjects said they had not taken a nap during the previous week, whilst 19 per cent said they had taken one or two. The remaining 23 per cent napped at least three times throughout the week.
From the study, it was highlighted that of those who napped more frequently, who took three to seven naps on average, tended to be male and older. Other similarities included a habit of smoking, weighing more than average and generally longer sleeps at night too.
It was also noted that these particular subjects had more daytime sleepiness and more sleep obstructive sleep apnoea. This is a condition in which the throat walls relax and begin to narrow during sleep, this interrupts the regular breathing pattern.
There were 155 fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular disease “events” during this monitored period, which included heart attacks and strokes.
The results have been published in the journal of Heart. Yeu Leng and Kristine Yaffe, of the University of California at San Fransisco, did not participate in investigating the theory, but did state that there was a lack of studying the benefits of napping.
They wrote that this made it “premature to conclude on the appropriateness of napping and maintaining optimal heart health.”
They also added: “The study of napping is also a promising field with potentially significant public health implications. It’s time to start unveiling the power of naps for a supercharged heart.”
So, at least there’s an excuse now when someone says you nap too much; show them the facts!
Aimee is a Media & Communications graduate from Birmingham City University with a passion for everything related to cats, milkshakes and Oreo-flavoured consumables. You will often find Aimee typing furiously equipped with a Greggs’ sausage roll and a gingerbread man.