A new study has revealed that taking daytime naps for more than 30 minutes can almost double the risk of developing atrial fibrillation (a-fib), a heart rhythm disorder.
This study was presented at a meeting of the European Society of Cardiology in Malaga, Spain. The research team tracked over 20,000 university graduates and found that those who took naps lasting 30 minutes or longer had a 90% higher chance of developing a-fib compared to those who took shorter naps or didn't nap at all.
Research Says No Long Naps: Moreover, those who took longer naps had nearly double the risk of developing a-fib compared to those who took short naps. However, individuals who didn't nap did not have an elevated risk compared to those who took short naps.
Your Heart is at Risk: The research team, led by Dr. Jesus Diaz-Gutierrez of Juan Ramon Jimenez University Hospital in Huelva, Spain, emphasized that a-fib is the most common heart rhythm disorder globally, and it increases the risk of stroke by fivefold. They recommended that people limit daytime naps to less than 30 minutes to reduce the risk of developing a-fib, particularly for individuals who have disrupted nighttime sleep.
15-30 Minutes Naps are Best: Additionally, the study revealed that short naps of less than 15 minutes were associated with a 42% lower risk of developing a-fib, while those who napped for 15 to 30 minutes had a 56% reduced risk compared to long nappers. Therefore, Diaz-Gutierrez suggested that the optimal duration for a nap is between 15 to 30 minutes. However, more research is needed to determine if a short nap is better than no nap at all.
Drawbacks of Longer Naps: Diaz-Gutierrez pointed out that there are various potential explanations for the link between napping and health, such as long naps disrupting the body's internal clock, resulting in shorter nighttime sleep, more nocturnal awakening, and reduced physical activity. In contrast, short naps may improve the body's circadian rhythm, lower blood pressure levels, and reduce stress.
But It’s Not Proven Yet: It is worth noting that the study found a correlation between napping and a-fib risk, but it does not necessarily prove causation. Therefore, the results are considered preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Despite this, the findings provide essential insights into how our daily habits, such as napping, can affect our health outcomes. The study's recommendations can be useful for individuals who want to reduce their risk of developing a-fib and improve their overall health.