How to live longer: Could a daily nap boost your life expectancy? What science has to say

How to live longer: Could a daily nap boost your life expectancy? What science has to say

Siestas were a way for Spanish workers to have an afternoon rest when the sun was at its hottest. Nowadays, more and more countries are getting on board. Should the UK be next?

A research paper published in the peer-reviewed medical journal BMJ admitted “the impact of napping on health has been hotly contested”.

The research team decided to investigate the association between napping frequency, the average nap duration and the risk of fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular diseases.

Cardiovascular diseases looked at were heart attacks, stroke or heart failure.

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In the same time period, around one in five (19 percent) said they had taken one to two naps.

Around one in 10 (12 percent) said they took three to five naps, while 11 percent said they took a nap nearly everyday.

Frequent nappers (those who took between three to seven naps per week) tended to be older, male, smokers, weigh more and slept longer at night.

The same group reported more daytime sleepiness and more severe obstructive sleep apnoea.

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Sleep apnoea is when the walls of the throat relax and narrow during sleep, interrupting normal breathing.

During the five-year monitoring period, there were 155 fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular events.

Interestingly, those who only napped once or twice a week were associated with a 48 percent reduced risk of a heart attack, stroke, or heart failure compared to those who didn’t nap at all.

In addition, this association held true regardless of other factors, such as age, nighttime sleep duration and high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

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“While there remain more questions than answers, it is time to start unveiling the power of naps for a supercharged heart.”

The MayoClinic claims napping can have various benefits, such as: relaxation, reduced fatigue, increased alertness, improved mood, and a better memory.

However, the MayoClinic recommends to keep naps to 20 minutes or shorter, and before 3pm as not to mess with evening sleep patterns.

So based on the evidence presented, do you reckon the UK should introduce a siesta? And if so, should it be a luxury reserved for a special day of the week?


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