Frequent Naps Could Be a Potential Red Flag, Experts Say
written by/ August 11, 2022
Power nap, catnap, whatevernap… isn’t good for you, new study finds. In fact, napping regularly could imply an underlying sleep disorder or even chronic sleep deprivation, neither of which is particularly healthy.
An analysis of the UK Biobank data, which contains some 360,000 eligible participants, showed that people who take frequent naps are more likely to develop cardiovascular complications, such as high blood pressure (hypertension) and stroke.
Namely, hypertension, a well-known effect of sleep deprivation, is responsible for the onset of most cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). The study, published in the AHA journal Hypertension, revealed that frequent napping increases the likelihood of hypertension by 12%.
Moreover, this increases to 20% if you’re under 60. And those over 60 were 10% more likely to develop hypertension. Likewise, those who napped on occasion were 7% more likely to develop hypertension and have a stroke (12%).
To everyone’s surprise, daily nappers had a whopping 24% higher stroke incidence rate, even when other conditions like obesity, diabetes, smoking, night-shift work, etc., were factored in.
Still, researchers found that those that napped during the day were mainly older, overweight males with a high waist-to-hip ratio. Hence, we should take this particular result with a grain of salt as they aren’t the best control group.
It’s also worth noting that the study didn’t consider the length of naps. Even so, experts believe longer naps are far worse than their short counterparts. For instance, taking a 2- to 3-hour nap during the day due to insomnia will only worsen the symptoms.
Scientists believe that sleeping (and napping) habits can tell us a lot about our cardiovascular health, yet more research is needed on the subject.