News Release 

Long naps may be bad for health

European Society of Cardiology

Sophia Antipolis, France -26 Aug 2020: Many believe that lying down for a snooze is a harmless activity. But today, scientists show that drifting off for more than one hour could be risky. The study is presented at ESC Congress 2020.1

"Daytime napping is common all over the world and is generally considered a healthy habit," said study author Dr. Zhe Pan of Guangzhou Medical University, China. "A common view is that napping improves performance and counteracts the negative consequences of 'sleep debt'. Our study challenges these widely held opinions."

Previous research on the link between daytime naps and death or cardiovascular disease has produced conflicting results. In addition, it did not account for the duration of night-time sleep.

This study summarised the available evidence to assess the relationship between napping and the risks of all-cause death and cardiovascular disease. A total of 313,651 participants from more than 20 studies were included in the analysis. Some 39% of participants took naps.

The analysis found that long naps (more than 60 mins) were associated with a 30% greater risk of all-cause death and 34% higher likelihood of cardiovascular disease compared to no napping. When night-time sleep was taken into account, long naps were linked with an elevated risk of death only in those who slept more than six hours per night.

Overall, naps of any length were linked with a 19% elevated risk of death. The connection was more pronounced in women, who had a 22% greater likelihood of death with napping compared to no napping, and older participants, whose risk rose by 17% with naps.

Short naps (less than 60 minutes) were not risky for developing cardiovascular disease. Dr. Pan said: "The results suggest that shorter naps (especially those less than 30 to 45 minutes) might improve heart health in people who sleep insufficiently at night."

The reasons why napping affects the body are still uncertain, said Dr. Pan, but some studies have suggested that long snoozes are linked with higher levels of inflammation, which is risky for heart health and longevity. Other research has connected napping with high blood pressure, diabetes, and poor overall physical health.

He concluded: "If you want to take a siesta, our study indicates it's safest to keep it under an hour. For those of us not in the habit of a daytime slumber, there is no convincing evidence to start."

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Notes to editors

Authors: ESC Press Office
Mobile: +33 (0)7 85 31 20 36
Email: press@escardio.org

The hashtag for ESC Congress 2020 is #ESCCongress.

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This press release accompanies an abstract at ESC Congress 2020 - The Digital Experience. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Society of Cardiology.

Funding: None.

Disclosures: The authors have no conflicts of interest.

References and notes

1Abstract title: The association between napping and the risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis.

About the European Society of Cardiology

The European Society of Cardiology brings together health care professionals from more than 150 countries, working to advance cardiovascular medicine and help people lead longer, healthier lives.

About the ESC Congress 2020

ESC Congress is the world's largest gathering of cardiovascular professionals contributing to global awareness of the latest clinical trials and breakthrough discoveries. ESC Congress 2020 takes place online from 29 August to 1 September. More information is available from the ESC Press Office at press@escardio.org.

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