Taking naps regularly is linked to a higher risk for high blood pressure and stroke, according to new research published today in high blood pressureAn American Heart Association Journal.
Researchers in China investigated whether frequent naps could be a potentially causal risk factor for high blood pressure and/or stroke. This is the first study to use both observational analysis of long-term participants and Mendelian randomization—a genetic risk validation to examine whether frequent naps were associated with hypertension and ischemic stroke.
“These results are particularly interesting because millions of people may enjoy regular or daily naps,” says E Wang, PhD, MD, professor and chair of the department of anesthesiology at Jiangya Hospital Central South University, and corresponding author of the study.
The researchers used information from the UK Biobank, a large biomedical database and research resource that includes anonymous genetic, lifestyle and health information from half a million UK participants. The UK Biobank recruited more than 500,000 participants between the ages of 40 and 69 who lived in the United Kingdom between 2006 and 2010. They regularly provided blood, urine and saliva samples, as well as detailed information about their lifestyle. A small proportion of UK Biobank participants surveyed 4 times snooze frequency from 2006–2019.
Wang’s group excluded records of people who had already had a stroke or had high blood pressure before the study began. This left about 360,000 participants to analyze the association between naps and first-time reports of stroke or high blood pressure, with a median follow-up of about 11 years. Participants were divided into groups based on self-reported nap frequency: “never/rarely,” “sometimes,” or “usually.”
The study found:
- A higher percentage of ordinary-nappers were male, had lower levels of education and income, and reported cigarette smoking, daily drinking, insomnia, snoring, and being an evening person than seldom-nappers. Gave;
- When compared to those who reported never taking a nap, those who nap frequently were 12% more likely to develop high blood pressure and 24% more likely to have a stroke;
- Participants under the age of 60 who usually took a nap had a 20% higher risk of developing high blood pressure than those of the same age who never took a nap. After age 60, napping in general was associated with a 10% higher risk of high blood pressure than those who reported never naps;
- About three-quarters of participants remained in the same napping category throughout the study;
- Mendelian randomization results showed that the risk of hypertension increased by 40% if the frequency of naps was increased by a range (from never to infrequent or to rarely). Higher napping frequency was related to genetic predisposition for hypertension risk.
“This may be because, although naps in themselves are not harmful, many people who take naps may do so due to poor sleep at night. Poor sleep at night is associated with poor health, and its Naps are not enough to compensate.” said Michael A. Grandner, PhD, MTR, a sleep specialist and co-author of the American Heart Association’s new Life Essential 8 Cardiovascular Health Score, which in June 2022 raised sleep duration to 8. added as.th Metric for measuring optimal heart and brain health. “This study echoes other findings that generally show that taking more naps is associated with an increased risk for problems with heart health and other issues.” Grander is director of the Sleep Health Research Program and Behavioral Sleep Medicine Clinic and associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
The authors recommend further investigation into the relationship between healthy sleep patterns, including daytime naps, and heart health.
There are several important limitations to the study to consider. The researchers only collected nap frequency during the day, not duration, so there is no information on how nap length affects blood pressure or stroke risks. Additionally, blink frequency was self-reported without any objective measure, making the estimate non-quantitative. Study participants were mostly middle-aged and elderly of European descent, so the results may not be generalizable. Finally, researchers have yet to discover the biological mechanism for the regulation of blood pressure or the effect of daytime naps on stroke.
Co-authors are Min-Jing Yang, MD; Zhong Zhang, Ph.D., MD; Yi-Jing Wang; MD; Jin-Chen Lee, Ph.D.; Qi-Lian Guo, Ph.D., MD; Jiang Chen, Ph.D., MD
China’s National Key Research and Development Program supports this research financially.
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