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A new study has found that occasional daytime napping is good for your longevity. Naps taken twice a week (only) could lower the risk of heart attacks or strokes. But beware the weekend nap and taking a daytime nap every day. Dozing off too often may not be as healthy as we all hope.

This is Why Occasional Daytime Napping Has Some Benefits

Researchers from the University Hospital of Lausanne, Switzerland  have looked at the association between napping frequency and duration and the risk of fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular disease complications. They tracked 3,462 people between the ages of 35 and 75 for just over five years. The researchers found those who indulged in occasional napping — once or twice a week, between five minutes and an hour — were 48% less likely to suffer a heart attack, stroke or heart failure than those who did not nap at all.

daytime napping | Longevity Live

Published in Heart, in the journal of the British Cardiovascular Society, the observational study also found that no such association occurred for greater frequency or duration of naps.

Why is this important? Some studies have shown the impact of napping on heart health. However, many more have not considered napping frequency or duration.

So how much is too much when it comes to daytime napping?

The researchers say those who nap once or twice a week have a lower risk of incident CVD (cardiovascular disease) events. However, no association was found for more frequent napping or napping duration.

Other researchers have weighed in on daytime napping research.

A Bigger Health Issue

“If you’re napping every single day, there might be a bigger health issue you need to address,” said University of Glasgow professor of Metabolic Medicine Naveed Sattar. He told  CNN This means the former pattern of occasional napping is intentional and the latter of more regular napping likely represents sub-clinical illness linked to poorer lifestyles. This would then explain the differential risks.”

He added that while the study was “somewhat interesting,”   it seems that those who nap once or twice a week have healthier or more organized lifestyles, but that those who napped daily were more likely to be sick.

daytime napping and weight | Longevity LIVE

Beware the Weekend Nap Trap

Sleep is a hot topic. Understandably so. A lack of slack or bad sleeping patterns has serious long term health consequences. Hence why experts weigh in on the research findings.

Dr. Vsevolod Polotsky, director of sleep research at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, also spoke to CNN about the study. He believes that “Weekend catch-up sleep is not protective,” and said, “The bottom line of this study is that even if you sleep longer on weekends, if you continue to sleep poorly, you will still eat too much, and you will still gain weight.”
Polotsky explained that hunger hormones are affected by a chronic lack of sleep. “The hormone leptin decreases appetite, while the hormone ghrelin increases appetite,” explained Polotsky.  “We know from previous research that sleep deprivation causes leptin to drop and ghrelin to rise, so you’re hungry.”
Kenneth Write Jr., the author of another study, published in the journal Current Biology,  confirms how sleep deprivation leads to overeating. Wright Jr. directs the sleep lab at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

This is What Happens When We Don’t Get Enough Sleep?

“The common behavior of “sleeping in over the weekend doesn’t correct the body’s inability to regulate blood sugar if that weekend is followed by a workweek or school week full of insufficient sleep. And when we go back to getting too little sleep again,” he added.
This suggests we’re doing things that could be negative for our health long-term.
sleep and daytime napping
All these studies help us understand the relationship between sleep and the increased risk for things like diabetes.
Short, insufficient sleep schedules will lead to an inability to regulate blood sugar. This will increase the risk of metabolic disease in the long term. Metabolic syndrome means you have fat around the waist, abnormal cholesterol, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure. All of which can raise the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

What’s the Final Take Out For Us?

It is far better to aim for a regular good night’s sleep. You should also follow the usual lifestyle advice of good diets and good activity levels. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends at least seven hours of sleep each night for adults and much more for children.

Don’t lose sleep if you take a nap a couple of times a week. However, if you find yourself dosing off during the day on a daily basis, please talk to your doctor.

Here are 15 surprising benefits of occasional daytime napping.

Gisèle Wertheim Aymes

Gisèle Wertheim Aymes

Gisèle is the owner of the Longevity brand. She is a seasoned media professional and autodidactic. Her goal? Sharing the joy with others of living in good health, while living beyond 100, You can follow her @giselewaymes on Twitter and Instagram or read her Linked-In profile for full bio details.

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