According to a study published on Monday in Hypertension, an American Heart Association journal, persons who often nap have a greater chance of developing high blood pressure and having a stroke.
The study, which was partially conducted to investigate the association between the three, found that participants that usually napped during the day compared with people who never napped, were 12% more likely to develop high blood pressure over time and 24% more likely to have a stroke.
According to clinical psychologist Michael Grandner, who did not take part in the study, this is possible because while taking a nap is not harmful, taking naps throughout the day usually indicates poor sleep at night. Which is associated with poorer health as the short naps can not make up for what is missed at night.
The study also found that if a participant was younger than 60, napping most days raised the risk of developing high blood pressure by 20% compared with people who never or rarely napped. The study was conducted over four years and collected information from the UK Biobank on 360,000 participants on their napping habits.
The research was still proven to be true even after variables were excluded, such as people at high risk for hypertension. This was inclusive of those with type 2 diabetes, existing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep disorders and persons who worked night shifts.
Dr. Raj Dasgupta, an associate professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, says that a power nap that’s 15 to 20 minutes around noon to 2 p.m should be fine, however, he did not encourage napping if someone was suffering from chronic insomnia because it takes away the drive to sleep at night.