1 to 2 naps a week may help keep your heart healthy, study finds

Via:  tig  •  3 months ago  •  19 comments

1 to 2 naps a week may help keep your heart healthy, study finds
Three or more naps a week had no health benefits.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

By   Erika Edwards

There's new evidence that daytime naps may be linked to a lower risk of heart attack or stroke, but only if they're limited to a few times a week.

The research, published Monday in the journal   Heart , is based on data collected from nearly 3,500 people living in Switzerland.

"We looked at healthy adults and found that people who take occasional naps — once or twice a week — had a lower risk for cardiovascular disease compared to people who were not napping at all," said Nadine Häusler, an internist at University Hospital of Lausanne, and lead author of the new research.

Häusler and her colleagues tracked the participants for five years. All were between 35 and 75, basically healthy without any evidence of heart disease, and none were overly sleep-deprived.

The frequency of napping varied. More than half (58 percent) said they never took a daytime siesta, while about one in 10 said they nodded off almost daily.

About one in five participants hit what the researchers found to be the napping sweet spot: one to two times per week.

It was that occasional nap frequency that was linked to a 48 percent lowered risk for heart attack, stroke or heart failure.

Nap length did not appear to influence the findings, and included anything from a quick, five-minute catnap to an hour-plus snooze. Because the study was observational, it cannot prove cause and effect.

"It could be that that these people who nap once to twice a week are those who make napping a priority, because they know they don't sleep enough during the week," said Céline Vetter, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado Boulder who studies circadian rhythms and sleep disruption. Vetter was not involved with the current research.

How napping may influence heart health is unclear.

"Our best guess is that a daytime nap just releases stress from insufficient sleep," Häusler said.

Indeed, a large study of   healthy adults living in Greece   published in 2007 found those who napped at least three times a week had a lower risk of fatal heart attacks. The strongest benefits were found in working men, and researchers theorized at the time that naps helped reduce stress.

This does not mean physicians should start writing prescriptions to nap for optimal heart health, mainly because there's no way to know what "dosage" is best.

"What is the timing, duration and frequency of the naps? Do we count in a 5 min 'dozing-off' as a nap?" wrote Yue Leng, an epidemiologist studying sleep behavior at the University of California San Francisco, in an   editorial   published alongside the new study.

"We don't really know much about napping," Leng told NBC News. "We have a lot to learn."

Häusler agreed. "It's really important that other studies confirm these findings," she said.

Much more is known about the benefits of a good night's sleep.

"Every physiological function we look at — from metabolism to the immune system — is all embedded in how much you sleep," Vetter said.

Sleep deprivation also drives up the risk for obesity, a known risk factor for heart disease.

But when it comes to daytime naps, there appears to be a fine line between when they may be helpful, and when they may do harm.

A   study   published in February suggested that people who   catch up on missed sleep   during the week by napping on weekends tend to snack more, increasing their risk for excess weight gain.

In older adults, frequent naps may be a sign of an underlying problem, like   Alzheimer's disease .

"If older adults report taking a lot of long, extended naps during the day, that might be an alarm for clinicians," said Leng.

Proven   ways to reduce heart disease   risk include a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and heart-healthy oils, not smoking, keeping weight and blood pressure to healthy levels, and frequent exercise.

Meanwhile, the   American Academy of Sleep Medicine   recommends most adults get at least seven hours of shuteye a night for a variety of health benefits.

A good bedtime routine can help, according to sleep experts, who recommend these tips:

  • Get up at the same time every day, even on weekends or during vacations.

  • Keep your bedroom room at a comfortable, cool temperature.

  • Limit exposure to bright light in the evenings, and avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed.

  • Turn off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.

  • Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet.


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1  seeder  TᵢG    3 months ago

An easy practice to follow.   Similar to a glass of wine each day is good for our hearts?

1.1  Freefaller  replied to  TᵢG @1    3 months ago

Lol cool I was doing it right and didn't even know it.

1.2  Krishna  replied to  TᵢG @1    3 months ago

An easy practice to follow.   Similar to a glass of wine each day is good for our hearts?

Just be careful not to overdo it! One extra nap per week and you could blow the whole thing!

1 To 2 Naps A Week May Help Keep Your Heart Healthy, Three or more naps a week had no health benefits.

pat wilson
2  pat wilson    3 months ago

I like a daily twenty minute snooze. Works for me.

Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
2.1  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  pat wilson @2    3 months ago
I like a daily twenty minute snooze.

Yeah, me too.  Three or four twenty minute snoozes in a row suit me just fine.

3  Kathleen    3 months ago

I like taking naps.  It’s one of my favorite things.

Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
4  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom    3 months ago

Three or more naps a week had no health benefits.

Benefits, schmenefits.  Keeping a strict routine at my advanced age and frailty level is far more important.  Translation:  Nothing separates a nun from her daily nap.

4.1  WallyW  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @4    3 months ago

Your daily nap habit

4.1.1  1stwarrior  replied to  WallyW @4.1    3 months ago

Gotta do it daily - feels great.

5  Al-316    3 months ago

Well, excuse me.

I have made my own personal study. It has been ongoing for about two years.

For that two year period, I found that four, two hour naps a day prevents heart attacks, pink eye, arthritis, swollen joints, and countless other common ailments.

Unfortunately, those naps will not prevent hunger, thrust, forgetfulness, and occasional stumbling over ones own feet.

6  Kavika     3 months ago

I've been napping for decades. Having done a lot of business travel in Asia it's fairly common for management types there to take a nap after lunch. 

They also carry that trait with them when they are assigned to positions in the US. 

I think it's a great idea and embraced it throughout my business career and now in my non-business career. 

''Let there be naps''....

These are my role models. 


Freedom Warrior
7  Freedom Warrior    3 months ago


8  Enoch    3 months ago

Afternoon napping improves memory and focus.

Excessive napping during the day and inability to achieve REM level sleep at night is a precursor to Dementia and/or other cognative impairments.

We need REM level sleep with Leptin and Seratonin brain chemical production for restorative benefits. It is a part of good health.

For more details please see the NITES (National Initiative for the Tracking and Evaluation of Sleeplessness).

It is an NIH funded national study.


As we said to our children and now grandchildren up to a certain age when tucking them in for the night or an afternoon nap:

Chalamot Tovot U'Metukot (Hebrew for: Good and Sweet Dreams).

Enoch, Copping some Z's.    

8.1  Krishna  replied to  Enoch @8    3 months ago
Excessive napping during the day and inability to achieve REM level sleep at night is a precursor to Dementia and/or other cognative impairments.

I've read similar research. Apparently the key word is excessive. I believe scientists who've studied these things have found the ideal length of time fo a nap-- IIRC its something like 20 minutes or 30?

8.1.1  Enoch  replied to  Krishna @8.1    3 months ago

Dear Friend Krishna: Sounds right to me.



Trout Giggles
9  Trout Giggles    3 months ago

I like my 2 hour siestas on Saturday afternoon

9.1  Tessylo  replied to  Trout Giggles @9    3 months ago

I enjoy my naps on the weekends.  Saturday and Sunday.  I look forward to them.  

10  sandy-2021492    3 months ago

I always think that a nap sounds wonderful, but in reality, if I take a nap, I wake up with a headache, and I can't get to sleep later when it's actually time for bed.  Those 20-minute power naps just don't work for me, as it takes me about that long to fall asleep.  So I don't nap very often.

10.1  Krishna  replied to  sandy-2021492 @10    3 months ago

I think that sometimes these "scientific" studies fail to take into account individual differences. They tend to try to find the"ideal" plan for everyone.

(BTWI also think that's true for diet-- I believe some folks might actually be healthier on a sensible vegetarian diet, while others might be healthier of a diet with a fair amount of animal protein,etc)


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