Afternoon naps linked to premature death, research suggests

Research has suggested correlation between people who regularly nap for more than 40 minutes at a time and health conditions including high blood pressure and cholesterol

Siobhan Fenton
Saturday 26 March 2016 17:06
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Taking a nap lasting more than 40 minutes can raise your risk of premature death, new research has suggested.

A study of more than 300,000 people found that taking long naps during the daytime is linked to developing metabolic syndromes including obesity, high blood pressure and cholesterol.

The research is comprised of analysis from 21 observational studies profiling 307,237 people collectively and was presented at the American College of Cardiology’s annual conference. It found that while naps are healthy, once they regularly last longer than 40 minutes, they can link to a number of health conditions which result in premature death, The Daily Mail reports.

Researchers asked participants if they regularly take a day-time nap and then cross referenced their reply with their medical history, including whether they have history of obesity, diabetes or metabolic syndrome. The study noted a correlation between the two, if the naps lasted longer than 40 minutes. If naps were shorter, this link was not noticed.

It has been suggested that during long naps, the body thinks it is about to enter deep sleep and so finds its metabolic cycle unsettled after waking up. Whereas with short naps, the body does not enter a deep sleep phase and so does not experience this jolt.

Lead author of the study, Dr Tomohide Tamada, PhD diabetologist at the University of Tokyo, said: “Taking naps is widely prevalent around the world. So clarifying the relationship between naps and metabolic disease might offer a new strategy of treatment, especially as metabolic disease has been increasing steadily all over the world.

“Sleep is an important component of our healthy lifestyle, as well as diet and exercise. Short naps might have a beneficial effect on our health, but we don’t yet know the strength of that effect or the mechanism by which it works.”

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