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Frequent napping linked to high blood pressure, study says

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  • People who reported napping had a 12 percent greater chance of developing high blood pressure and 24 percent higher likelihood of having a stroke.

  • Study participants under the age of 60 who reported that they usually napped had a 20 percent higher risk of high blood pressure than those who said they never napped.

  • “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.”

Frequent napping has been linked to developing high blood pressure and stroke risk, according to new research.  

People who reported napping had a 12 percent greater chance of developing high blood pressure and 24 percent higher likelihood of having a stroke.  

Study participants under the age of 60 who reported that they usually napped had a 20 percent higher risk of high blood pressure than those who said they never napped. 

“These results are especially interesting since millions of people might enjoy a regular, or even daily nap,” says E Wang, a professor and chair of the Department of Anesthesiology at Xiangya Hospital Central South University, and the study’s corresponding author said in a news release. 

For the study, researchers recruited more than 500,000 participants from the U.K. Biobank between the ages of 40 and 69 who lived in the U.K. between 2006 and 2010 to provide blood, urine and saliva samples and lifestyle details. Researchers conducted a napping frequency survey four times between 2006 and 2019.  

They categorized participants into groups based on napping frequency — “never/rarely,” “sometimes,” or “usually–then analyzed the association of napping and first-time reports of stroke with an average follow-up of 11 years. 


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Results showed if napping frequency increased by one category, the risk of high blood pressure increased by 40 percent.  

“This 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,” said Michael A. Grandner, a sleep expert and co-author of the American Heart Association’s new Life’s Essential 8 cardiovascular health score. 

“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.” 

The AHA announced in June it is adding sleep to its metrics that measure cardiovascular health.  

“The new metric of sleep duration reflects the latest research findings: sleep impacts overall health, and people who have healthier sleep patterns manage health factors such as weight, blood pressure or risk for Type 2 diabetes more effectively,” American Heart Association President Donald M. Lloyd-Jones said at the time. 

“In addition, advances in ways to measure sleep, such as with wearable devices, now offer people the ability to reliably and routinely monitor their sleep habits at home.” 

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Published on Jul. 25, 2022

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