Health Care

Daytime nap once a week lowers risk of heart attack and stroke

Daytime nap once a week lowers risk of heart attack and stroke”

One in five took one to two naps and one in 10 said they took three to five, while a similar proportion took six to seven.

Dr. Martha Gulati, a cardiologist who is editor-in-chief of CardioSmart.org, the American College of Cardiology's patient website, said it makes sense that frequent napping could be a red flag for health problems.

"What is the timing, duration and frequency of the naps?"

In the new study, the researchers analyzed the link between napping frequency and average nap duration and the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack, stroke, or heart failure.

And so, to try and clarify the health impacts of napping by addressing certain discrepancies in previous studies (e.g. considering napping frequency), researchers compared napping frequency, average nap duration, and the risk of cardiovascular disease events (fatal and non-fatal) over a five-year period. Numerous published studies on the topic have failed to consider napping frequency, or focused purely on cardiovascular disease deaths, or compared regular nappers with those not opting for a mini siesta, say the researchers.

Over the course of the research, there were 155 cardiovascular events.

Although napping once or twice weekly was found to have nearly halved the risk of the disease in comparison to those who never napped, the experts also found that napping duration had no impact on heart attack or stroke risk.

This could be because those who took six or seven naps a week tended to be older, male, overweight and smokers. "Until we get to the answers to some of these questions, the implications of napping can not be fully addressed", they wrote.

Though she said the results should first be confirmed by other studies, Hausler added: "We can say that an occasional nap can potentially decrease cardiovascular disease risk for healthy adults".

Occasional napping - once to twice weekly - was associated with an nearly halving of attack/stroke/heart failure risk (48 per cent) compared with
those who did not nap at all.

Only older age (65+) and severe sleep apnea affected it.

The link held true after taking account of potentially influential factors, such as age, and nighttime sleep duration, as well as other cardiovascular disease risks, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.

However, participants who napped several times a week were shown to have a higher rate of heart disease than those who did not nap at all.

But the 67 per cent heightened cardiovascular risk initially observed for frequent nappers virtually disappeared after taking account of potentially influential factors.

Nap length did not appear to influence the findings, and included anything from a quick, five-minute catnap to an hour-plus snooze. A daytime nap taken once or twice a week may be linked to heart health, according to new research.

This is an observational study, and as such, can't establish cause, added to which the information on nap and sleep patterns relied on personal recall.

"It is hard to compare studies as there is no gold standard for measuring and defining "naps" making it hard to make firm conclusions".



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