While short naps have been proven to have many positive health effects, a recent study warned against too frequent sleep breaks. A correlation between regular naps and a higher risk of hypertension and stroke has indeed been established by this work, published on Monday in the scientific journal Hypertension.
This link was identified by researchers at Central South University in China from data contained in the Biobank database. The latter compiled between 2006 and 2010 the medical information of 500,000 British adults aged 40 to 69. Surveys had also been conducted with these participants about naps, specifies Slate.
12% increased risk of hypertension
The study first made it possible to identify the typical profile of the amateur of regular naps. These are most often men who “smoked, drank daily, had a lower level of education and income and reported both insomnia and snoring”, found the scientists. They would have a total risk of hypertension increased by 12% and a risk of stroke increased by 24%.
However, these additional risks would not be directly related to the nap, but rather to its underlying cause: lack of sleep. “Poor nighttime sleep is associated with poorer health, and naps aren’t enough to compensate for that,” explained clinical psychologist and sleep expert Michael Grandner.
A direct or indirect link
The track of an increase in the risk of stroke caused directly by the nap is nevertheless not to be excluded. A 2008 study, for example, showed that napping could increase blood pressure, and with it the risk of stroke.