Regular Daytime Nappers May Be At Lower Heart Attack/Stroke Risk

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"Subjects who nap the moment or two times for every 7 days have a decreased risk of incident CVD (cardiovascular illness) occasions, though no affiliation was found for far more frequent napping or napping duration", the report authors explained. "It's often hard to untangle what is cause and effect, especially when some serious conditions, such as coronary heart disease, can be largely symptom-free for decades prior to a critical complication such as a heart attack", he told the Science Media Centre (SMC) in London.

Some good news for nap fanatics - a new study has found that a daytime nap taken once or twice a week could lower the risk of heart attacks or strokes.

The frequency of napping varied. The participants were between 35 and 75 years old (when recruited for the study, between 2003 and 2006).

Participants' first check-up took place between 2009 and 2012, when information on their sleep and nap patterns in the previous week was collected, and their health was then subsequently monitored for an average of 5 years. While some studies in the past have looked at associations between napping and heart health, the researchers said many published studies have failed to consider napping frequency or duration.

Of the folks studied, 58% didn't nap, 19% had taken one to 2 naps through the earlier week, and 12% had taken three to 5 naps that week. Though they reported sleeping longer at night than those who don't nap, they also reported more daytime sleepiness and were more likely to have sleep apnea, a condition that wakes a person repeatedly in the night when their breathing stops.

There had been 155 fatal and non-fatal heart problems "events".

"And it didn't change after factoring in excessive daytime sleepiness, depression, and regularly sleeping for at least six hours a night".

'We also know that treating high blood pressure and managing your cholesterol can reduce your risk of life-threatening heart and circulatory diseases'. Only older age (65+) and severe sleep apnoea affected it.

Frequent naps initially appeared to increase a person's heart risk by 67%, but that disappeared after accounting for other risk factors, the study authors noted.

While the ideal length for a nap wasn't determined in this study, most experts recommend about 20 minutes.

The observational review, which was released in Heart, the journal of the British Cardiovascular Society, uncovered that no these affiliation emerged for better frequency or duration of naps.

In a linked editorial, Drs Yue Leng and Kristine Yaffe, of the University of California at San Francisco, USA, point out that research in this area is hampered by the absence of a gold standard for defining and measuring naps, making it "premature to conclude on the appropriateness of napping for maintaining optimal heart health".

Researchers say they set out to assess the "relationship of napping frequency and average nap duration with fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular events".

Next time you're feeling a bit sluggish, go ahead and hit the sheets for a power nap.