New research published in the journal Heart obtained data from 3500 Swiss people. It found that a limited number of daytime naps per week is perhaps associated with reduced risk of the heart attack.
Nadine Häusler and his colleagues observed healthy adults for the study. They followed the participants for five years. The participants were aged between 35 and 75. All were healthy and none of them was sleep-deprived. Researchers found that people who took naps 1 or 2 times per week had a reduced risk of heart diseases.
Researchers at first choosed 5064 particpants out of which 608 were not counted because they lost the follow-up. While 247 of them had a history of cardiovascular diseases.
The Link between Daytime naps and heart health
Duration of napping among the participants was varied. More than 50% of the participants did not take any nap. However, 1 out of 5 participants took the occasional daytime nap once or twice a week. It was found to be linked with a 48% decrease in heart health risks or stroke.
The duration of the nap was not significantly observed. The study included napping form 5 minutes to an hour or more. The study did not prove any causation.
The way napping influences heart health is not clear yet.
Céline Vetter said that people who take naps 1 to 2 times per week may make napping their priority. They don’t sleep enough during a week.
Häusler guessed that daytime nap may release stress caused by insufficient sleep.
In 2007, a study of healthy adults in Greece was published. It stated that people who took 3 naps per week had a reduced risk of deadly heart attacks.
However, physicians cannot prescribe napping as the sufficient duration of a nap is unknown. We don’t know clearly about duration, frequency and timing of sufficient naps. It requires further confirmation by studies.
Vetter said that all physiological functions of the human body are determined by how much it sleeps.
Deprivation of sleep leads to the risk of obesity which can cause heart diseases. However, in the case of daytime naps, there exists a fine line between its benefits and harms.
In one study, people who took a nap on weekends to recover their sleep missed during the week ate more snacks. This increased their risk for weight gain and obesity.
Leng said that older adults taking long and repeated hours of sleep represent an alarming situation. It may indicate a problem like Alzheimer’s disease.
Recommended sleep duration
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggests seven hours of sleep per day for adults.
Experts recommend waking up early and at the same time during all days of a week. Keep your bedroom at a cool temperature.
Avoid taking alcohol and caffeine-containing beverages at bedtime for better sleep. Avoid screen watching, whether mobile phones, laptops or television, at least 30 minutes before going to bed.
Exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet. A healthy diet including fruits and vegetables helps in lowering heart disease risks. Avoid smoking and keep your blood pressure in normal ranges.