Are YOU a vacation napper? May raise risk of heart attacks and strokes
Are YOU a vacation napper? It may raise the risk of heart attacks, strokes and diabetes, Harvard study suggests
- Researchers examined data from 3,275 adults from the Spanish region of Murcia
- Long siesta-takers had a higher body mass index and more chronic health issues
- READ MORE: Chocolate, green tea and Chinese takeaways! The foods that are ruining your sleep revealed
Whether it’s the free-flowing alcohol or endless food, we’re all guilty of overindulging on vacation.
Now it seems siestas can be added to the list of unhealthy holiday habits – unless you nap for 30 minutes or less.
Those who take longer siestas are more likely to be overweight and have high blood pressure and diabetes, according to new research by Harvard.
Experts have discovered a 30-minute nap each day may increase the risk of an irregular heartbeat
Researchers examined data from 3,275 adults from the Spanish region of Murcia.
They collected details regarding their naps and other lifestyle factors, resulting in categories of no siestas, shorter than 30 minutes, and longer than 30 minutes.
They found that long siesta-takers had a higher body mass index and were more likely to have metabolic syndrome – a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity – than those who took either short or no naps.
This leaves people at greater risk of coronary complications – such as heart attack and stroke.
How spending LESS time in bed could beat insomnia
We all know how important good quality sleep is, and how awful we feel after a run of bad nights.
However, those who had ‘power naps’ showed no signs of increased risk, according to the findings published in the journal Obesity.
The researchers found that long siestas were associated with later evening meals and bedtimes as well as higher calorie intake at lunchtime and smoking.
They acknowledged it was not yet known if siestas themselves were responsible with a previous study on UK patients finding obesity itself could trigger naps.
Some 59 percent of women and nearly 69 percent of men in the UK are now overweight or obese, according to the latest official estimates.
Further research is needed to investigate whether a short siesta is advantageous over a long one, particularly for individuals with habits such as having delayed meals and sleep schedules, or for those who smoke, they said.
Frank Scheer, of Harvard Medical School’s Brigham and Women’s hospital, said: ‘This study shows the importance of considering siesta length and raises the question whether short naps may offer unique benefits.
‘Many institutions are realizing the benefits of short naps, mostly for work productivity, but also increasingly for general health.
‘If future studies further substantiate the advantages of shorter siestas, I think that that could be the driving force behind the uncovering of optimal nap durations, and a cultural shift in the recognition of the long-term health effects and productivity increases that can amount from this lifestyle behavior.’
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