According to research, those who nap during the day for longer than 30 minutes appear to be more likely to be obese and have high blood pressure.
They observed that persons with shorter naps are less likely to develop high blood pressure.
Longer naps, according to specialists, may play a role in these illnesses because they can disturb both eating and sleeping patterns at night.
More than 30-minute naps during the midday may raise blood pressure, increase body mass index, and worsen diabetes and heart-related diseases, according to research.
The prevalence of high blood pressure was lower among people who took what are known as “power naps,” which are midday sleep sessions lasting 30 minutes or fewer.
Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston evaluated more than 3,000 adults from a Mediterranean population—where midday naps, known as “siestas,” are common—for a recent study that was published in the journal Obesity.
The duration of siestas and their association with metabolic syndrome and obesity were investigated by the researchers.
According to studies, those who take siestas of at least 30 minutes are more likely than those who don’t to have higher blood pressure, a higher body mass index, and other diseases linked to diabetes and heart disease.
Additionally, compared to people who did not take a siesta, those who took brief naps were less likely to exhibit elevated systolic blood pressure. “Not all siestas are the same,” said Marta Garaulet, Ph.D., MS, a senior study author and a visiting professor in the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders. “The health effects of a nap can depend on the length of time, position of sleep, and other particular factors.”
Obesity and Naps
According to Garaulet, the group previously conducted research in the UK and discovered that siestas were linked to a higher risk of obesity. The next step was to examine siestas in a nation where afternoon naps were more prevalent in culture.
According to Garaulet, “in this case, Spain, as well as how the duration of siestas is related to metabolic health.” The group notes that there are more than 1 billion obese people in the world, which is a rising health risk.
In the course of metabolic processes, how people digest food has a connection to fat accumulation in the body. Researchers suggested that studying how habits, such as napping, alter certain metabolic pathways, could contribute in the understanding of how habits affect health.
Findings from the napping research
The group looked at information from 3,275 persons in the Murcia region of Spain.
Participants at the University of Murcia had their baseline metabolic parameters assessed, and information about their naps and other lifestyle elements was gathered. No siestas, shorter than 30 minutes, and more than 30 minutes were the categories into which the subjects were split.
In comparison to those who did not take siestas, subjects who took longer naps had higher body mass indices and were more likely to have metabolic syndrome (MetS).
The extended nap group exhibited greater waist circumference, fasting glucose levels, systolic blood pressure (SBP), and diastolic blood pressure values as compared to the no-siesta group. Longer siestas were linked to later nighttime eating and sleeping, more energy consumed during lunch, and smoking.
Sleep and obesity
A lot of study has been done on the relationship between sleep and obesity, according to Becca Krukowski, PhD, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Medicine.
In contrast, Krukowski noted, “This article adds knowledge about sleep and health risks in a cultural context where naps are promoted among healthy people, across the lifespan, while also considering other potentially related factors, such as nap length and eating patterns.”
According to Krukowski, it’s probable that the health issues led to the lengthier sleeps rather than the other way around. The direction of these correlations cannot be determined from this study because it is cross-sectional. It’s likely that obese people sleep less soundly at night and require longer naps as a result.
The study, according to Krukowski, might be a first step towards more illuminating research.
“Previous studies have shown that weight loss interventions improve sleep quality,” said Krukowski. It could be interesting to look at whether weight loss is impacted by sleep therapies, such as controlling nap length and increasing nocturnal sleep.
More study is required on napping
The authors of the study acknowledged that it’s possible that some factors—rather than siestas per se—might be a result of obesity rather than being caused by siestas, as evidenced by a prior investigation of data from the UK Biobank that found a causal link between napping and obesity, particularly abdominal obesity, which they refer to as the most harmful type.
The link between siestas and health indices was found to be mediated by a number of statistically relevant lifestyle factors, according to the authors.
They urge further investigation into whether a little siesta is preferable to a long one, especially for people who smoke, have bad habits like sleeping in late or delaying meals, or who have delayed sleep patterns.
The Brigham’s Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders’ Frank Scheer, PhD, a senior neuroscientist and professor in the Medical Chronobiology Programme, commented on the study’s findings in a statement. “This study shows the importance of considering siesta length and raises the question of whether short naps may offer unique benefits,” he said. Numerous institutions are starting to recognise the advantages of quick naps, mostly for work productivity but also more and more for overall health.
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