What could be better than a restorative nap at the start of the afternoon to perk up a good shot? If this sleep break has repeatedly demonstrated its benefits on our health, a new study published on July 25, 2022 in the scientific journal Hypertension, however, warns against the too frequent nature of these moments of relaxation. Napping too often could indeed be ‘correlated with higher risk of hypertension and stroke’tells us ScienceAlert.
To reach this conclusion, the researchers analyzed a database called Biobank containing the information of more than 500,000 British adults aged 40 to 69, “who regularly provided samples and updates on their health” between 2006 and 2010. The scientists also studied several surveys about the naps to which the participants had answered.
The analysis thus revealed that most of the regular “nappers” were men who “smoked, drank daily, had a lower level of education and income, and reported both insomnia and snoring”. Scientists have also observed that people who often take naps “had a 12% higher risk of high blood pressure than people who rarely or never nap, and a 24% higher risk of stroke”.
Correlation or causation?
“While napping itself isn’t dangerous, many people who take naps do so because of poor nighttime sleep. [qui] is associated with poorer health, and naps are not enough to compensate for this”comments Michael Grandner, clinical psychologist and sleep expert. “This study echoes other findings that generally show that taking more naps appears to reflect an increased risk of heart and other health problems.”
If this study thus reports a correlation, ScienceAlert points out however that “this does not mean that a causal link should be excluded”. In 2008, researchers demonstrated, for example, that blood pressure could increase after a nap and that this phenomenon could possibly play a role. “in increasing the risk of stroke in people who nap during the day”.