Taking an Afternoon Nap Twice a Week Greatly Lowers the Risk of Heart Attack

Having a nap during the day is not something bad but in fact a good thing for your health and overall well-being. According to a conducted study it significantly lowers the threat of having a heart attack or stroke.

The researchers have come to the conclusion that those people who have a tendency of having a nap during the day once or twice a week are at about 50% less risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke compared to the ones who avoid this habit.

Yet, the findings of the study claim that more than two times napping a week has no additional benefits for the health of the heart.

Sleep shortage increases the risk of atherosclerosis, a condition that results from a build-up of plaque in the body’s arteries thus making them narrow and hard and significantly raising the risk of stroke and heart attack. Therefore we should all get our 8-hour night sleep, but when there are days when we miss it we can opt for napping during the day.

This was a 5-year study where the researchers from the University Hospital of Lausanne in Switzerland monitored 3,400 people in the age range of 35 – 75 years old. The research team has analyzed the link between napping frequency and average nap duration with the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

In those 5 years of monitoring the participants 155 heart attacks or strokes have occurred. But, those who napped once to twice a week lowered the risk of these occurrences by 48%.

The research team was thorough and accounted for potential factors which could influence the study. The study author Dr Nadine Hausler of the University Hospital of Lausanne, stated the following, quote:

“’This association held true after taking account of potentially influential factors, such as age, and night-time sleep duration, as well as other cardiovascular disease risks, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol. And it didn’t change after factoring in excessive daytime sleepiness, depression, and regularly sleeping for at least six hours a night.”’

The risk group that stood out was the one in the age range of 65 and more who suffered from severe sleep apnea. The people in this group were still at high risk of a heart attack or stroke even if they napped regularly.

According to Naveed Sattar, Professor of Metabolic Medicine at the University of Glasgow, regular nappers during the week are healthier people in general.

He maintained the following:

 “Those who nap one to two times per week have healthier lifestyles or organized lives that allow them to have these naps, whereas those who nap nearly every day are likely to be sicker.

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 lifestyle. This would then explain the differential risks.

I don’t think one can work out from this work whether ‘intentional’ napping on one or two days per week improves heart health so no one should take from this that napping is a way to lessen their heart attack risk – to prove that would require proper trials but I’m not sure how feasible these would be. 

For now, far better to aim for regular good night’s sleeps and to follow usual lifestyle advice of good diets and decent activity levels.”

The findings of this study are released in the British Medical Journal, Heart,

Insomnia – A Common Modern Sleep Issue

Many people who suffer from insomnia have difficulties to go to sleep, wake up several times during the night, lie awake at night, wake up early and can’t go back to sleep, and still feel tired after waking up.

The common reasons for the occurrence of insomnia are: alcohol use, caffeine, nicotine, noise, stress, anxiety or depression.

Insomnia occurs when you regularly have problems with sleeping, but it can be treated by changing the sleeping habits and rigorously stick to them even while weekends. You should always go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. We advise you to go to bed when feeling tired and thus get the needed sleep.