Napping may help fend off cardiovascular disease

  • While a lot of people deny themselves of taking naps, a new study says that napping not only relieves stress but also minimizes risks of having a cardiovascular disease episode.
  • After collecting and studying data from about 3,000 people over a span of five years, results showed that people who nap once or twice a week showed a 48% lowered risk of CV disease.
  • As for those who take naps often during the week who also weigh more and smoke, they are at a 67% risk of developing heart diseases.

Napping isn’t just for babies and angsty teenagers. Nor is it a luxury that we only get to do during vacations. Oftentimes, we deprive ourselves of naps. But we may altogether be forced to rethink the importance of naps because a newly published study revealed that naps are linked with lowered risks of heart disease.

Is taking a nap good for our health?

The question itself isn’t an easy one because the health benefits of napping had been an issue among scientists for years. Previous studies have failed to include napping frequency as a vital factor.

To settle this, the study’s research team gathered data over a duration of 5 years from more than 3,000 people of ages 35 to 70 and determined the relations between napping frequency, average nap duration and cardiovascular disease risks. Five years after, results indicated some interesting trends.

Findings showed about 58% of participants didn’t nap at all. Next, occasional napping (one to two naps per week) accounted for a 48% reduced risk of having a cardiovascular disease event like a stroke or heart attack. Frequent (3 to 7 naps a week) nappers, however, who were all male and older, weighed more and smoke more often were associated with a 67% higher risk for heart disease.

So, can naps help prevent heart disease?

The reduced CV disease risks noted among occasional nappers remained even after researchers adjusted other factors that may influence the results such as age, disease risks and the number of sleep hours per night. Interestingly, when those same factors were taken into account among the frequent nappers, the 67% boosted CV risks disappeared. This may suggest that napping does have a beneficial impact on CV disease.

Since this is an observational study, we can’t assume that napping is directly related to the lowered risks of CV disease. However, study results contribute to the continuing debate on the health impacts of napping. It also “suggests that it might not only be the duration but also the frequency that matters,” wrote the study authors from the University of California at San Francisco.

Additionally, studying napping is very challenging because it heavily relies on self-reported data. “While there remain more questions than answers, it is time to start unveiling the power of naps for a supercharged heart,” the authors wrote.

The study was published in the journal Heart.

Source: Mind Body Green


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