Napping Regularly Linked to High Blood Pressure and Stroke, Study Finds

by Muhammad Talha
Napping High Blood Pressure Stroke

Chinese Researchers have found that, for people who often nap there is a high chance of developing high blood pressure and having a stroke.

Although napping itself is not harmful. But many people take naps due to poor sleep at night. A good sleep at night is very essential for our health. Poor sleep at night is related to poor health, and to make up for that naps are not enough.

Researchers from Xiangya Hospital Central South University examined whether napping regularly could result in poor cardiovascular health.

It is the first such study where researchers used both the observational analysis of participants and Mendelian randomization — A method of genetic risk validation — to observe whether frequent napping can cause high blood pressure and ischemic stroke.

“These results are especially interesting since millions of people might enjoy a regular nap,” says Dr. E. Wang, corresponding author and professor of the Department of Anesthesiology at Xiangya Hospital Central South University.

The researchers collect participants’ information from the UK Biobank — A large biomedical database and a research resource containing anonymous genetic information, and health and lifestyle information. More than 500,000 participants’ data have been collected from ages of between 40 and 69 and all of them were residents of the United Kingdom between 2006 and 2010.

The participants provided their blood, urine, and saliva samples and detailed lifestyle information. A daytime napping frequency survey occurred 4 times and gathered information from 2006 – 2018 from a small portion of UK Biobank Participants.

Researchers excluded participants before the study, who already had high blood pressure and stroke, leaving behind 360,000 people to analyze. All the participants were divided into groups based on self-reported napping frequency, including “never/rarely”, “sometimes” or “usually”.

Napping High Blood Pressure Stroke

Napping can be Even Worse for Adults

The study founds that people who usually nap had a 12% more chance of developing high blood pressure and a 24% more chance of having a stroke. Compared to the people who rarely or never nap.

People under the 0f 60 who usually nap have a 20% higher risk of developing high blood pressure, compared to people of the same age who never nap.

The study reveals that people above the age of 60 who usually nap have a 10% more risk of high blood pressure than people of the same age who never nap.

The Mendelian randomization results showed that if the napping frequency increased by one category — from “Never/Rarely” to “Sometimes” or “Sometimes” to “Usually” then the risk of higher blood pressure jumped to 40%.

Napping High Blood Pressure Stroke

Longer Naps are Worse

Taking a regular and longer nap may be a sign of a sleep disorder. “If you sleep longer than an hour, two hours, for example, that’s not really a nap,” says sleep specialist Dr. Raj Dasgupta, an associate professor at the University of South California.

A refreshing nap is 15 – 20 minutes and around 12 PM noon is 100% the way if you’re sleep deprived, says Dasgupta.

Results from the study showed that a higher percentage of frequent nappers were men. Usually, they had lower education, less income, were cigarette smokers, had daily drinking, insomnia, and were evening people.

“I don’t believe that napping is a warning sign due to sleep disorder in some individuals”. Sleep disorders are due to an increase in stress levels, and weight regulation hormones that lead to obesity, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. These all are the risk factors for heart disease, says Dasgupta.


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