Health Medical

Power naps better than long siestas for cognitive and physical health, says study

H Q Team

May 9, 2023: Afternoon siestas are a common practice across many parts of the world and are generally recommended for an energy boost. A new study says that long mid-day snoozes may have an adverse effect on our health.

The study published in Obesity: A Research Journal says that long siestas in the middle of the day lead to higher BMI (body mass index and blood pressure, among other things. Shorter siestas of 30 minutes or less do not have any adverse effects.

A cross-section of 3,275 healthy adults from the Spanish region of Murcia were study subjects. The participants answered a “Siesta characteristics questionnaire” for the study. The research revealed that 35% took siestas often, with 16% of them usually snoozing for 30 minutes or more.

Compared to those who did not sleep during the day, long siesta-takers were found to have a higher BMI, waist size, and blood pressure, all of which are linked to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

People who slept for a longer period reported later dinner and bedtimes. They also indulged in heavier lunches and cigarette smoking, again related to health risks.

Also, short siesta-takers reported fewer incidents of blood pressure than those who did not nap.

“Not all siestas are the same. The length of time, the position of sleep, and other specific factors can affect the health outcomes of a nap,” senior author Marta Garaulet, a visiting professor in the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said in a press release.

Previous studies have shown that short power naps lead to better mental and physical health.

Another study presented at the American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session Together With the World Congress of Cardiology in March revealed that people with better sleeping habits live longer and that poor sleep patterns cause eight percent of deaths. The study involved data from 172,321 people over 4.3 years and who answered surveys assessing the quality of their sleep.

A study published in the online journal General Psychiatry says that taking a regular afternoon nap may be linked to better mental agility,

Moreover, another study published in PloS Biology showed that people with even an hour’s loss of sleep could turn antisocial and lose the desire to help even their friends and family.

A 2021 study published in the European Heart Journal – Digital Health said that late sleepers had a 25 percent higher risk of getting heart disease.

Despite all the available studies, the relationship between siestas and metabolic health is still poorly understood.


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