Olivia Frodsham

News

Having an afternoon nap can help you live longer, scientists say

The risk of having a heart attack or stroke is almost halved.

There's always been two types of people in the world: those who nap and those who have a job.

But while nappers are seen as lazy and lethargic, a new study has found that they might be on to something.

Researchers have found that those who get some shut-eye in the afternoon are at almost 50% less risk of suffering a heart attack compared to those who just plough through the day.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal says that a lack of sleep raises the risk of atherosclerosis - a build-up of plaque in the body's arteries - that causes them to narrow and harden.

We're supposed to sleep around 8 hours a day,  but that is rarely possible in modern-day living – so having a nap is a great way to ctach up on the sleep we miss.

The researchers at University Hospital of Lausanne in Switzerland studied 3,400 people aged between 35 and 75 over five years. In that time there were 155 heart attacks or strokes. At the same time, napping once-to-twice a week was linked with an almost halving of the risk (48%).

Dr Nadine Hausler said the results accounted for other factors that may have impacted the results:

"This association held true after taking account of potentially influential factors, such as age, and night-time sleep duration, as well as other cardiovascular disease risks, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.

And it didn't change after factoring in excessive daytime sleepiness, depression, and regularly sleeping for at least six hours a night."

Dr Hausler added that regular napping was not recommended for those aged over 65 who suffer from severe sleep apnoea.

Naveed Sattar, Professor of Metabolic Medicine at the University of Glasgow, said regular nappers were generally healthier.

He said:

"Those who nap one to two times per week have healthier lifestyles or organised lives that allow them to have these naps, whereas those who nap nearly every day are likely to be more sick."