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Long naps could be a risk to consumers' health, study finds

Researchers say any daytime nap longer than an hour should be a cause for concern

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Recent studies have found ways that napping can be beneficial to consumers’ health, including maintaining healthy blood pressure and improving decision-making

However, a new study conducted by researchers from the European Society of Cardiology highlighted the risks associated with napping for too long. The study found that shorter naps can be beneficial to consumers’ health, but sleeping for more than an hour during the day can increase the risk for several health concerns. 

“Daytime napping is common all over the world and is generally considered a healthy habit,” said researcher Dr. Zhe Pan. “A common view is that napping improves performance and counteracts the negative consequences of ‘sleep debt.’ Our study challenges these widely held opinions.” 

Finding the right nap balance

The researchers looked at 20 earlier studies that tracked the risks and benefits associated with daytime napping. They learned that naps of any length could increase consumers’ risk of death by nearly 20 percent; however, longer naps increased the risk of health complications even further. 

The study revealed that the risk of cardiovascular disease was nearly 35 percent higher when consumers napped for at least one hour, while the risk of premature death was 30 percent higher following longer daytime rests. While the researchers also identified health risks with shorter naps, they recommend that consumers keep their daytime sleeping to shorter time slots. 

“The results suggest that shorter naps (especially those less than 30 to 45 minutes) might improve heart health in people who sleep insufficiently at night,” said Dr. Pan. 

The researchers learned that certain groups, such as older people and women, were more susceptible to adverse effects following a nap of any length. It still remains unclear to the researchers why this association exists, but the results clearly indicate that daytime sleeping can be a health risk to many consumers. 

To ensure optimal health, the researchers encourage consumers to avoid napping if it’s not something they already do regularly. 

“If you want to take a siesta, our study indicates it’s safest to keep it under an hour,” said Dr. Pan. “For those of us not in the habit of a daytime slumber, there is no convincing evidence to start.” 

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