While many consumers may enjoy an afternoon nap, the results from a recent American Heart Association study shows that they might be bad for your health. The study showed that taking frequent naps during the day may increase the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.
“This may be because, although taking a nap itself is not harmful, many people who take naps do so because of poor sleep at night,” said researcher Michael A. Grandner, Ph.D.
“Poor sleep at night is associated with poorer health, and naps are not enough to make up for that. This study echoes other findings that generally show that taking more naps seems to reflect increased risk for problems with heart health and other issues.”
Heart health risks
The researchers analyzed data from more than 500,000 people between the ages of 40 and 69 who were enrolled in the U.K. Biobank. The participants were surveyed four times between 2006 and 2019 about their napping habits. They also gave saliva, blood, and urine samples over the course of the study.
The team learned that regular daytime nappers were nearly 25% more likely to have a stroke and 12% more likely to have high blood pressure. Younger participants who napped frequently had a 20% higher risk of high blood pressure compared to those under 60 who never napped.
The researchers found that napping more often could worsen heart health. Those who increased their napping in any way – even jumping from rarely napping to sometimes napping – were 40% more likely to have high blood pressure. The team hopes these findings highlight some of the heart health risks associated with regularly napping.
“These results are especially interesting since millions of people might enjoy a regular, or even daily nap,” said researcher Dr. E. Wang.