Could Naps Be Helpful for Your Heart?

If you need an excuse to take a nap, how about this – all that napping could be good for your heart.

Tracking Naps

This was the conclusion of a 2019 Swiss study published in the journal Heart. This report analyzed both the napping patterns and the cardiovascular health of roughly 3500 Swiss adults, ranging in age from 35 to 75. Each participant was required to provide information regarding their sleeping patterns and general lifestyle. In addition, the subjects’ all underwent medical testing to gauge their overall health. 

The amount of napping varied significantly amongst the participants. The authors found that less than half of the subjects had napped in the week prior to the study. Of those that did report naps, 667 participants had taken one or two naps, while 411 reported taking three to five. Finally, some 370 adults took six to seven naps in the week prior to the study. 

The authors kept tabs on their participants for a total of eight years. During this time, 155 participants experienced some sort of heart issue. When it came to the nappers, the researcher found that cardiovascular problems occurred less frequently among those in the 1-2 nap group. This groups’ relatively good heart health persisted even when daytime sleepiness, nighttime sleeping patterns, demographic information and lifestyle preferences were factored into consideration.

More Z’s, Better Health?

Given the connection between health problems and a lack of sleep, the study authors speculate that short daytime naps could prove beneficial to the body’s cardiovascular system. Previous research has established a connection between poor sleeping habits and an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and mental issues. 

The study was not without its limitations; it relied on its participants to self-report their napping patterns, and its subjects encountered relatively few heart problems. Regardless, the study does offer evidence that regular napping could yield long-term benefits.

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