Two Naps A Week Could Lower Risk Of Heart Attacks And Strokes
We've all holidayed in Spain and found ourselves at a loose end when we pop out for some mid-afternoon shopping to find all the shops have closed for siesta time.
While afternoon naps are something we can never imagine being sanctioned at home, we've always thought the Spanish were on to something. And turns out they really are - naps are important for your health.
In fact, a new study has found that getting some shut eye in the day can half your chances of having a heart attack or stroke. And you only have to do it once or twice a week.
Researchers from the University Hospital of Lausanne in Switzerland tested 3,400 people aged 35 to 75 for an average of five years.
By looking at the relationships between napping and risk of heart attack or stroke, they found napping once or twice a week was associated with a 48 per cent decrease in risk compared to those who didn't.
This is because a lack of sleep raises the risks of atherosclerosis, where plaque builds up inside your arteries, a cause of cardiovascular disease events.
Interestingly, they found napping more than twice a week didn't have any further health benefits. So just two naps a week is all it takes!
Study author Dr Nadine Hausler, said the team considered potential outside factors.
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"This association held true after taking account of potentially influential factors, such as age, and night-time sleep duration, as well as other cardiovascular disease risks, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol," she said.
"And it didn't change after factoring in excessive daytime sleepiness, depression, and regularly sleeping for at least six hours a night."
During the five years of study, there were 155 heart attacks or strokes.
Professor Naveed Sattar, Professor of Metabolic Medicine at University of Glasgow, called the study "somewhat interesting" adding "but seems like those who nap one to two times per week have healthier lifestyles or organised lives that allow them to have these naps."
He continued: "Whereas those who nap nearly every day are likely to be more sick - this means the former pattern of occasional napping is intentional and the latter of more regular napping likely represents sub-clinical illness linked to poorer lifestyle. This would then explain the differential risks.
"I don't think one can work out from this work whether 'intentional' napping on one or two days per week improves heart health so no one should take from this that napping is a way to lessen their heart attack risk - to prove that would require proper trials but I'm not sure how feasible these would be.
We're taking this study to our bosses. Slinking off for a couple of naps a week isn't too much to ask, is it?
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