It’s time to convince your boss to take regular naps at work, as a new study suggests that taking a nap once or twice a week can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Who doesn’t enjoy a good nap in the afternoon? But, between work and everyday life, it’s not always easy to sneak into bed to take a nap. Still, taking a nap would be good for your health.
We already know that naps boost our productivity, but a Swiss study has also just concluded that small extra periods of sleep limited the risk of heart attack and stroke, almost half.
Novels May Make You Healthier
The study, published in the journal Heart, looked at a group of 3,462 people between the ages of 35 and 75 for an average of 5 years, taking care to monitor their sleep patterns and general health.
58% of those surveyed did not take a nap, about 1 in 5 (19%) took one or two naps a week, 1 in 10 (12%) 3 to 5 and about 11% took 6 or 7 naps a week.
155 cardiovascular events, including heart attacks and strokes, were recorded during the 5 years of follow-up.
The researchers concluded that people who took naps once or twice a week were less likely to suffer from these types of problems even taking into account other factors, up to 48%.
Don’t start doing like the Spanish by holding a small daily nap, as the researchers also concluded that it is not necessarily beneficial to take naps more regularly.
Dr Nadine Husler, a senior researcher at the University Hospital of Vaud, told the journal Heart: “Subjects who nap once or twice a week are less likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease, but such association does not seem to concern more frequent naps and nap times.”
“The frequency of naps could allow us to explain the divergent conclusions on the link between naps and cardiovascular events.”
Dr. Yue Leng of the University of California, San Francisco, said in an associate editorial that the study could have “potentially significant public health implications.”
She said: “[This study] contributes to the current debate about the health implications of nest and suggests that duration is not the only important element, as frequency also plays a role.”
More research is needed
“Right now, there are still more questions than answers, but it’s time to start recognizing the power of nest to have a healthy heart.”
Vanessa Smith, a heart nurse with the British Heart Foundation, believes further studies will need to be done before napping is considered the key to heart health.
“Many of us may try to take a nap from time to time, but further studies will be needed before we say that regular naps limit the risk of heart attack or stroke,” she said.
“However, we know that many other effective life changes can lead to a healthy heart and blood vessels.”
“Doing 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week and following a healthy Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.”
“We also know that treating high blood pressure and controlling cholesterol can reduce the risk of life-threatening heart and circulatory diseases.”
A quick nap should not replace a good diet and regular exercise sessions if you are looking to protect your heart, but feel free to take a nap if you feel the need.