Taking long naps during the day could increase the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, and metabolic syndrome, according to a recent study by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) in the US.
The study, which analyzed the sleep patterns, sleep duration, body mass index (BMI), and metabolic syndrome of 3,275 adults living in Murcia, Spain, with an average age of 41, was published in the April issue of the Obesity journal.
The participants were divided into three groups: those who didn’t nap, those who napped for less than 30 minutes, and those who napped for over 30 minutes.
The results showed that those who took naps for over 30 minutes had worse health indicators than those who didn’t nap at all. They also had higher BMI, waist circumference, fasting blood sugar, and blood pressure, all of which are associated with metabolic syndrome. Most of these participants also reported sleeping late and consuming a larger lunch portion. Additionally, they were reported to have unhealthy habits, such as smoking.
On the other hand, those who took short naps of less than 30 minutes did not show an increase in obesity or metabolic changes. The possibility of an increase in systolic blood pressure was also low.
Dr. Marta Guasch-Ferré, a guest professor at BWH, said, “Nap duration, sleep position, and some specific factors may affect napping and health. This study shows the importance of regulating nap time.”
Frank Scheer, a professor of neuroscience, suggested that further research is needed to prove the benefits of short naps for health, especially for those with habits of late meals and sleep schedules or those who smoke.
In conclusion, the study emphasizes the importance of regulating nap time and maintaining healthy habits to avoid the risks of obesity, high blood pressure, and metabolic syndrome.