Nap frequency might help to explain the controversial findings regarding the association between napping and CVD.

An Occasional Nap May Be Good For Your Heart

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Nadine Häusler

Department of Medicine, Internal Medicine
University Hospital of Lausanne
Lausanne, Switzerland

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: There are controversial results regarding the effect of napping on cardiovascular disease (CVD) exist i.e. some studies report adverse effects of napping whereas other find beneficial effects of napping on CVD. Most studies compare nappers to non-nappers or study nap duration but neglect to take the frequency of napping into account. Moreover, studies measure naps in a different way, study different populations and include different confounders, which makes it hard to compare the results. Thus, we aimed to study the association between CVD and napping as a more holistic behavior i.e. not just the duration but also the frequency of napping.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? 

Response: We found that occasional nappers (i.e. napping one or twice weekly) have a lower risk for incident CVD events than people who do not take naps. On the other hand, we did not find an association between more frequent napping or napping duration with incident CVD.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

 Response: Our study was carried out in a general healthy population, and thus we may say that an occasional nap can potentially be beneficial regarding CVD for general healthy adults – these results remain to be confirmed by other studies though. However, in people complaining of insomnia, it is important to not take a nap as it inhibits the pressure of falling asleep (which should be at highest at night). Therefore, insomniacs are not recommended to take any nap. In another study, we observed that poor nighttime sleep and to some extent for short sleep duration leads to higher probability of next-day napping (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sleep.2019.04.014), but that daytime napping does not affect the sleep quality of duration of the same night. Thus, daytime napping can compensate for poor nighttime sleep.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Nap frequency might help to explain the controversial findings regarding the association between napping and CVD. Thus, our research suggests to also take nap frequency, and not just nap duration into account, when investigating the effect of napping on CVD.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: On this behalf we would love to thank the fantastic participants of the CoLaus study for their dedication, and to everyone working on CoLaus and HypnoLaus for making this study possible. Last but not least, we are grateful for the funding we have received from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) over the past years.

Citation:

Nadine Häusler, Jose Haba-Rubio, Raphael Heinzer, Pedro Marques-Vidal. Association of napping with incident cardiovascular events in a prospective cohort study. Heart, 2019 DOI: 10.1136/heartjnl-2019-314999

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Last Modified: Sep 10, 2019 @ 7:48 pm

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