According to the report published by the American Heart Association journal Hypertension, napping raised the risk of developing high blood pressure in people younger than age 60 by 20 percent compared with people who never or rarely nap.
The AHA reported that participants of the study who napped during the day were 24 percent more likely to have a stroke and 12 percent more likely to develop high blood pressure over time compared with people who rarely or never nap.
In a statement released by the American Heart Association, Michael Grandner, co-author of the study and director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Clinic at the Banner-University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona said the results may be because “although taking a nap itself is not harmful, many people who take naps may do so because of poor sleep at night. Poor sleep at night is associated with poorer health, and naps are not enough to make up for that.”
“This study echoes other findings that generally show that taking more naps seems to reflect increased risk for problems with heart health and other issues,” Grandner concluded.
The new study analyzed 358,451 participants who had neither hypertension nor stroke to determine the correlations between napping and first-time reports of stroke or high blood pressure. Participants were then divided into two groups to share their nap frequency at a rate of “never/rarely,” “sometimes,” or “usually.”
Research also found that regular napping was associated with a 10 percent higher risk of high blood pressure compared to those who reported never napping after the age of 60. In addition to this, a higher percentage of usual nappers were found to be men, had lower education and income levels, and reported “cigarette smoking, daily drinking, insomnia, snoring and being an evening person compared to never- or sometimes-nappers.”
Phyllis Zee, MD, director of the Center for Circadian and Sleep Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, told CNN, “From a clinical standpoint, I think (the new study) highlights the importance for health care providers to routinely ask patients about napping and excessive daytime sleepiness and evaluate for other contributing conditions to potentially modify the risk for cardiovascular disease.”