Heart disease: Daytime naps may increase risk of symptoms

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Once in a while a day can be so long and tiring that a mid-afternoon rest is needed, this quick siesta can give the body enough extra charge to get everyone through the afternoon with a high degree of efficiency. And yet, research in recent years has begun to suggest that while napping may have some health benefits, it may also increase the risk of certain health problems. That’s according to a series of studies that have been published in recent years on what napping does for the body, specifically the cardiovascular system. Heart disease, caused by a malfunctioning cardiovascular system, is one of the biggest causes of death in the UK and one suffered by more than seven and a half million people.

According to a study published in 2015, long naps could increase the risk of cardiovascular disease by 82%.

The authors writing about the study said: “A study of [Tomohide] Yamada and colleagues, published in the June 2015 issue of Sleep, linked naps longer than an hour to an 82% increase in cardiovascular disease and a 27% increase in death from all causes. »

These data were presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in September 2015. The study also showed that the risk of diabetes also increased by 56% if participants were tired.

In addition, the study also found that the risk of diabetes increased by 46% if naps lasted more than an hour. The conclusions were drawn after considering the analysis of 21 observational studies involving 307,237 participants.

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Speaking about the study at the time, Yamada said: “Sleep is an important part of our healthy lifestyle, along with diet and exercise.

“Short naps may have a beneficial effect on our health, but we don’t yet know the strength of this effect or the mechanism by which it works.”

Subsequently, although it is known that naps can have a beneficial and negative impact on overall health, it is not known exactly why this is the case.

What has been discovered in the years since Yamada’s study is that napping can increase the risk of much more than diabetes.

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A more recent study, published in 2022, found that napping may increase the risk of having a stroke.

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to the brain is suddenly interrupted. In an emergency, strokes can be fatal if not treated quickly.

The study in question was undertaken by the American Heart Association (AHA), the American equivalent of the British Heart Foundation (BHF), which analyzed data from the UK Biobank.

The researchers found that those who nap occasionally were 12% more likely to have a stroke than those who did not; this risk increased to 24% for those who regularly took naps.

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The study participants were aged 40 to 69, meaning the risk of stroke for younger people who take regular or irregular naps was not taken into account.

Although the study will raise some eyebrows, given that an activity as harmless as napping can increase stroke risk, there were some caveats to the research.

The researchers listed among the caveats of their study the lack of diversity in the participants and that they only recorded the duration of naps rather than their frequency.

Most of the participants were European and would therefore have produced broadly similar results; other studies will need to have a greater diversity of participants so that a conclusion can be drawn.

How to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Depending on a person’s current fitness level, it is relatively easy to reduce a person’s risk of heart disease. This can be done by maintaining a balanced diet alongside regular physical activity.

In addition, positive lifestyle habits are essential. This includes reducing alcohol intake and not smoking.

However, for those starting from a point of poor physical condition at a later age, preventative medications may be needed alongside changes to healthier lifestyle habits.

Some people may need to take medicine to lower blood pressure or control heart rate. in many cases, these drugs must be taken for life.

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