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Occasional daytime naps 'lower heart attack/stroke risk'

Tuesday September 10th, 2019

A daytime nap up to two times a week could lower the risk of having a heart attack or stroke, Swiss researchers say today.

Researchers at the University Hospital of Lausanne, Switzerland, examined the association between napping frequency and average nap duration and the risk of fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular disease events, such as heart attack, stroke, or heart failure.

The observational study focused on 3,462 residents of Lausanne, who took part in the CoLaus study, which looked into the development of cardiovascular disease. All were aged between 35 and 75 when they were recruited between 2003 and 2006.

Their first check-up took place between 2009 and 2012, when researchers collected information on the participants’ sleep and nap patterns in the previous week, and their health was monitored for an average of five years.

Of the total cohort, 2,014 (58%) said they did not take any naps in the previous week, while 667 (19%) said they took one or two naps. Three to five naps were taken by 411 participants (12%) and 370 (11%) said they had napped six to seven times in the previous week.

Those who napped between three and seven times a week tended to be older, male, smokers who weighed more, and slept for longer at night than those who said they did not take day-time naps.

During the monitoring period, there were 155 fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular disease events. Researchers found that those who napped once or twice a week were associated with almost halving the risk (48%) of attack/stroke/heart failure risk compared with those who did not nap.

This did not change when the researchers factored in in excessive daytime sleepiness, depression, and regularly sleeping for at least six hours a night. But the 67% heightened cardiovascular risk initially observed for frequent nappers almost disappeared when the research team took account of potentially influential factors.

They admit that because it is an observational study, they cannot establish the cause, but say that nap frequency may help to explain the differing conclusions reached by researchers about the impact of napping on heart health.

Häusler S, Haba-Rubio J, Heinzer R et al. Association of napping with incident cardiovascular events in a prospective cohort study. Heart. September 2019. doi 10.1136/heartjnl-2019-314999

https://heart.bmj.com/lookup/doi/10.1136/heartjnl-2019-314999

Tags: Europe | Fitness | Heart Health

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