A new study published in the journal Hypertension has shown that regular napping is associated with a greater risk of developing high blood pressure or having a stroke.
The study included over 350,000 participants from the UK Biobank and aimed to investigate the association between daytime nap frequency and the occurrence of hypertension (high blood pressure) or stroke. Causality was also investigated using Mendelian randomization. Compared to never napping, napping often during the day increased the risk of both hypertension and stroke. Overall, frequent napping increased the risk of developing hypertension by 12% and increased the risk of having a stroke by 24%. Additionally, results supported a potential causal relationship between increased napping and increased risk.
Interestingly, those who reported frequent napping tended to be men; generally had lower income and education levels; and were more likely to smoke, drink daily, have insomnia, snore, and classify themselves as evening people. The study’s authors noted that naps may be associated with health issues because those who nap often may be getting poor quality sleep at night. While naps themselves are not harmful, poor sleep at night is associated with many health problems, including heart issues.
Sleep is an essential component of overall health and was recently added to the American Heart Association’s key measurements for improving and maintaining heart health. Tips for getting quality sleep include sticking to regular sleep and wake times (even on weekends), keeping your bedroom cool and dark, avoiding heavy meals before bed, getting regular exercise during the day, and avoiding stress and dispelling worries before bedtime.