How long do you day nap for? You could be increasing your risk of heart disease by 82%

Professor Hugh Watkins on genetic medicines for heart disease

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According to a study published in 2015, long naps could increase the risk of cardiovascular disease by 82 percent.

The authors writing about the study said: “A study by [Tomohide] Yamada and colleagues, published in the June 2015 issue of Sleep tied naps longer than an hour to an 82 percent increase in cardiovascular disease and a 27 percent increase in all cause death.”

This data was presented at the Annual Meeting of the European Association for the study of Diabetes in September 2015. The study also showed the risk of diabetes also rose by 56 percent if participants were fatigued.

Furthermore, the study also found the risk of diabetes rose by 46 percent if the naps taken were more than hour in length. The conclusions were reached after analysis from 21 observational studies featuring 307,237 participants were taken into account.

Speaking about the study at the time, Yamada said: “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.”

Subsequently, while it is known that naps can have a beneficial and negative impact on overall health, as to why this is the case is not quite known.

What has been found out in the years since Yamada’s study is that napping can increase the risk of more than just diabetes.

A more recent study, published in 2022, has found that napping could increase someone’s risk of experiencing a stroke.

A stroke occurs when blood supply to the brain is suddenly cut off. An emergency situation, strokes can be fatal if not treated quickly.

The study in question was undertaken by the American Heart Association (AHA), the American equivalent of the British Heart Foundation (BHF), who analysed data from the UK Biobank.

Researchers found those who napped on occasion were 12 percent more likely to experience a stroke than those who didn’t; this risk rose to 24 percent for those who napped regularly.

The participants of the study were between the ages of 40 and 69 meaning the stroke risk for younger people who nap regularly or irregularly wasn’t considered.

While the study will raise eyebrows, given how such an innocuous activity as napping can increase stroke risk, there were some caveats to the research.

The researchers listed among the caveats for their study the lack of diversity of participants and that they only recorded the length of naps rather than their frequency.

Most of the participants were European and so would have produced largely similar results; further studies will need to have a greater diversity of participants in order for a conclusion to be drawn.

How to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Depending on someone’s current fitness level, it is relatively easy to reduce someone’s risk of heart disease. This can be done through maintaining a balanced diet alongside regular exercise.

Furthermore, positive lifestyle habits are essential. This includes reducing alcohol consumption and not smoking.

However, for those starting from a point of poor fitness at older ages, preventative medication may be necessary alongside changes to healthier lifestyle habits.

Some people may need to take medication to lower blood pressure or control the heart’s rhythm; in many cases, these medications need to be taken for life.

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