While there are few things in the world that are better than a lazy afternoon nap, following a good lunch, a new study points toward these naps being linked to some pretty serious health issues.
A recent study revealed that regular or frequent napping is correlated with a higher risk of hypertension and stroke.
Many previous studies have noted a potential link between daytime napping and hypertension, which ultimately leads to one of its major complications, which is stroke. Now, through this study, researchers have expanded on these studies and investigated the correlation between the two.
For this, they delved deep into the data of over 500,000 United Kingdom residents, between the ages 40 and 69, who regularly provide samples and updates on their health to the large-scale biomedical database UK Biobank. From these candidates, the researchers excluded any individuals who already had high blood pressure or had a stroke before the study’s commencement. The 358,451 people left contributed to the study which led the researchers to discover 50,507 incidents of hypertension and 4,333 of stroke.
Regular nappers had a 12 percent higher risk of hypertension than people who seldom, or never, napped, and a 24 percent higher risk of stroke. They also discovered that most of the frequent nappers were males who smoked, drank daily, had lower education, and income levels, and reported both insomnia and snoring. The researchers also noted that higher napping frequencies were also associated with the genetic predisposition towards hypertension.
Since this was a correlational study, these figures don’t necessarily imply that the fault lies with taking frequent naps itself.
According to the researchers, poor sleep patterns could be the underlying cause for both variables (frequent naps and hypertension). The brief moments of daytime rest are not enough to mitigate the effects of lack of proper sleep.
Since scientists have previously recorded that blood pressure can rise following a nap, researchers agree that it could play a role in the increase of risk of a stroke in daytime nappers. “Our study, along with previous clinical studies, suggests that further examination of the mechanistic basis of the association between a healthy sleep pattern, including daytime napping, and cardiovascular disease is necessary,” wrote the researchers in their paper.