Regular naps for sleep-deprived people can lead to serious health problems, study finds

MADISON, Wis. — Afternoon naps can be great for you, but not if you’re trying to make up for poor nighttime sleep.

A new study actually indicates that afternoon naps can lead to serious health issues.

The study, published Monday in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension, showed that participants who regularly nap during the day were 12% more likely to develop high blood pressure over time and were 24% more likely to have a stroke compared to people who never nap.

“It kind of validates that a bit more than just telling people, ‘Oh, that’s just not healthy for you, you should get tested, you should talk to your doctor if you’re taking a lot of naps. But it says, “Hey, you know, you have an increased risk of having a heart attack or a stroke and that’s what the research has shown and that’s the increased risk”, so that’s a something real and tangible,” said Dr. Roopa Shah, family physician and health and wellness coach at SSM Health.

Shah said short naps aren’t a problem and can be rejuvenating, but it’s chronic sleepless naps that she’s trying to warn against.

For those feeling exhausted and not sleeping well, Shah recommends focusing on “sleep hygiene”: ensuring they have a comfortable sleeping environment, limiting screen time before bed, avoid alcohol and maintain a consistent schedule.

“Once they’ve done a lot of these sleep hygiene things and they’re still having issues, definitely talk to your doctor, because a lot of people could have sleep apnea without having excessive snoring. and don’t even know they really have apnea episodes.” she says.

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