Afternoon naps 'may be sign of poor health'

·1-min read

Most people enjoy an afternoon snooze on the weekend or vacation.

However, researchers in China have now reported that napping on a regular basis is associated with higher risks of high blood pressure and stroke.

Using information from the UK Biobank, a large biomedical database, the team analysed data relating to 360,000 people in order to see if there was an association between napping and first-time reports of stroke or high blood pressure, with an average follow-up of about 11 years.

Accordingly, they found that frequent nappers had a 12 per cent higher likelihood of developing high blood pressure and a 24 per cent higher likelihood of having a stroke.

A higher percentage of regular nappers were men and those who reported cigarette smoking, daily drinking, insomnia, snoring, and being an evening person.

After the age of 60, usual napping was associated with a 10 per cent higher risk of high blood pressure compared to those who reported never napping.

"These results are especially interesting since millions of people might enjoy a regular, or even daily nap," said corresponding author Dr E Wang, while sleep expert Dr. Michael A. Grandner noted that people may want to consider the real reasons they feel the need for some extra shut-eye.

"Although taking a nap itself is not harmful, many people who take naps may do so because of poor sleep at night. Poor sleep at night is associated with poorer health, and naps are not enough to make up for that," he said.

The authors recommended further examination of the associations between a healthy sleep pattern, including daytime napping, and heart health.

Full study results have been published in the journal Hypertension.

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