Do you like taking a few cat naps a week? You may be in luck. A new study has revealed a link between daytime naps and a healthy heart.

The Study

Researchers from the University Hospital of Lausanne, Switzerland found a correlation between daytime naps and a healthy heart.

The study, published in the journal Heart, observed 3,462 people, aged 35 – 75. Subjects reported their napping frequency and researchers recorded events such as heart attacks, heart failure, and strokes over the next five years.

When participants reported their sleeping and napping patterns, over 50% said they had taken no naps the previous week. Almost 20% reported napping once or twice, 12% napped 3-5 times, and a slim number had napped 6-7 times.

155 cardiovascular events occurred during the 5-year study. Taking 1 – 2 weekly naps decreased a person’s risk of heart attack, stroke, or heart failure by 48%.

“Subjects who nap once or twice per week have a lower risk of incident [Cardiovascular Disease Events] events”  

The study says

The study didn’t reveal any correlation between nap length and heart health. But for those who like the occasional nap, the report is encouraging.

Is napping the answer?

Background texture of printed question marks - daytime naps and heart health

Other scientists and researchers think it may be premature to assume that 1-2 daytime naps will lead to better heart health. There are other factors to take into consideration.

For example, Naveed Sattar, a Professor of Metabolic Medicine at the University of Glasgow, commented that those who nap once or twice a week probably have healthier lifestyles. Napping daily likely signified being sick or unhealthy.  

From the University of California, Yue Leng, Ph.D., and Dr. Dristine Yaffe have pointed out that the research is lacking because there is no set definition or duration of a nap. But they also add that the research contributes to the debate on napping and health implications—suggesting that is not just the duration but the frequency that matter.

The Bottom Line

Despite some pushback on the study, the study does link a few naps a week to a better chance of heart health. More research will be needed to confirm this theory. In the meantime, researchers recommend focusing on getting a good night’s sleep to improve heart health.

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