It’s highly possible you haven’t taken a nap since you slept in a crib, or maybe you’re among the 34 percents of adults in the U.S. who consider themselves nappers, according to data from the Pew Research Center. But if you’re one of the people who stick their nose up at daytime napping and consider it a sign of laziness, you should know that getting some rest during the day could actually be benefiting your cardiovascular health. Research has found that taking a certain numbers of naps each week can lower your heart attack risk. Read on to find out exactly how many naps you need to take each week to keep your heart healthy, and for more to know about your heart, If You Drink This Every Day, Your Heart Could Be in Danger, Study Finds.
In a 2019 study published in the journal Heart, researchers from Switzerland analyzed how people’s napping habits affect their heart health. The researchers observed more than 3,460 volunteers with no previous history of heart disease for an average of five-plus years, comparing their napping habits with incidents of cardiovascular disease (CVD). According to their findings, napping once or twice a week was associated with a lower risk of heart attack, heart failure, or stroke when compared to those who did not nap at all. “Subjects napping once or twice weekly had a lower risk of developing any CVD event compared with non-nappers,” the researchers explained in the study.
Interestingly enough, a 2020 survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Leesa Sleep indicated people may have adopted this habit over the last year. The researchers talked to 2,000 people in the U.S. about the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on their sleep schedules and they found that people who started working from home admitted to getting in about two naps a week on average during the workday. But for those who don’t rest so easy, know that If You Can’t Sleep, This OTC Medication Could Be Why, Experts Say.
The Swiss researchers found that only occasional napping every week was associated with a reduced risk of heart problems, however. Their findings showed that people who napped more than twice a week did not have a lower risk of heart attack, heart failure, or stroke compared to people who did not nap at all.
“While the exact physiological pathways linking daytime napping to cardiovascular disease risk is not clear, [this research] contributes to the ongoing debate on the health implications of napping, and suggests that it might not only be the duration, but also the frequency that matters,” psychiatry researchers Yue Leng, MD, and Kristine Yaffe, MD, who were not involved in the study, wrote in an editorial accompanying the research. As for what’s not benefiting your heart health, If You’re Lacking This Vitamin, Your Heart May Be in Danger, Study Finds.
Not only will napping more than twice a week not benefit your heart health, it could do damage instead. The researchers found that people who took six to seven naps a week had a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease events than those who were not napping.
However, this may not necessarily be the result of the naps, but rather the underlying conditions people who nap excessively tend to have, including obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The researchers noted that “frequent nappers had more frequently excessive daytime sleepiness and had more severe OSA compared with non-nappers.”
They added: “We could speculate that frequent napping may be secondary to impaired sleep quality due to a chronic condition, which may represent an independent risk factor for CVD events.” And for more up-to-date health news, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Other recent research has also found that if your naps go on too long, they are not going to do your heart good either. According to a 2020 meta-analysis presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress, napping for more than an hour each day could be putting your heart at risk.
After looking at 313,651 participants from more than 20 studies, the researchers found that naps longer than 60 minutes were associated with a 34 percent higher likelihood of cardiovascular disease compared to those who did not nap. The research also indicated that naps under 60 minutes were not a risk factor for developing heart disease.
Falling in line with the 2019 Swiss study, the 2020 meta-analysis’ author, Zhe Pan of the Guangzhou Medical University, said in a statement, “The results suggest that shorter naps (especially those less than 30 to 45 minutes) might improve heart health in people who sleep insufficiently at night.” And for more ways to reduce serious health risks with your daily habits, Eating This One Thing Can Cut Your Cancer Risk in Half, New Study Says.