Weekly nap could cut heart attack risk by half

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More than half (58 per cent, 2014) of the participants said they didn't nap during the previous week, while around one in five (19 per cent, 667) said they took one to two naps.

"I don't think one can work out from this work whether "intentional" napping on one or two days per week improves heart health so no one should take from this that napping is a way to lessen their heart attack risk - to prove that would require proper trials", Sattar said in a statement. Although the findings revealed no such association emerged for either greater frequency or duration of naps.

In what might just be the best news of the week (admittedly, it's only Tuesday), napping has been linked to a reduced risk of heart attack and stroke by scientists at the University Hospital of Lausanne in Switzerland.

Research to be published today, and carried out by a team from the Department of Medicine at the Hospital of Lausanne in Switzerland, says numerous studies failed to consider napping frequency, focused purely on cardiovascular disease deaths, or compared regular nappers with those not opting for a mini-siesta.

For this study, researchers looked at napping patterns of almost 3,500 randomly selected people in Switzerland, and then tracked their heart health for more than five years.

"If older adults report taking a lot of long, extended naps during the day, that might be an alarm for clinicians", said Leng. This has been looking at the factors behind the development of cardiovascular disease.

Occasional napping, once to twice weekly, was associated with an nearly halving in attack/stroke/heart failure risk (48 per cent) compared with those who didn't nap at all. "Until we get to the answers to some of these questions, the implications of napping can not be fully addressed", they wrote.

And they conclude: "The study of napping is a challenging but also a promising field with potentially significant public health implications".

Occasional napping, once to twice weekly, was associated with an nearly halving in attack/stroke/heart failure risk (48 per cent) compared with those who didn't nap at all. Participants who fell into that category saw their risk of experiencing a cardiovascular disease event decrease 48 percent - even when factors such as age, night-time sleep duration, and health aspects (e.g. high blood pressure) were taken into consideration.

But the 67 per cent heightened cardiovascular risk initially observed for frequent nappers virtually disappeared after taking account of potentially influential factors.

Over the course of 5 years, there have been 155 "cardiovascular events" - which means an incident corresponding to a coronary heart assault or a stroke - among the many group.

Vanessa Smith, a cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, stated that more evidence would be needed to firmly establish a link between nap frequency and heart disease. "While there remain more questions than answers, it is time to start unveiling the power of naps for a supercharged heart", they conclude. Research in this area is further hampered by the absence of a clear standard for defining and measuring naps.

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