Urgent warning as sleep habit is ‘early sign’ of stealth killer heart condition

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A STUDY has warned those who like to take a nap could later be struck with a killer heart condition.

Napping on a regular basis was linked with high blood pressure, which contributes to stroke and heart attacks.

And strokes are also more frequent in nappers. 

Researchers at Xiangya Hospital Central South University looked at 360,000 people in the UK between the ages of 40 and 69 years.

Between 2006 and 2019, the participants provided information about their sleep habits, among other lifestyle factors.

They were followed-up for an average of 11 years each.

Participants were divided into groups based on their napping patterns: “never/rarely,” “sometimes,” or “usually”.

The key finding was that people who “usually” nap had a 12 per cent higher risk of developing high blood pressure, compared to those who never napped.

Their risk of stroke was 24 per cent higher.

Most people’s sleep and napping patterns stayed the same throughout the study. 

But some people’s changed – and those that saw their napping increase from one category to the next had a 40 per cent higher risk of high blood pressure diagnosis.

A high percentage of people who fell into the “usual” napping type were men, people with lower education and income, cigarette smokers and daily drinkers.

They also were typically night owls, suffered insomnia or snored (which could be a symptom of sleep apnoea).

The study’s corresponding author, Dr E Wang said “taking a nap itself is not harmful”.

It is not the nap itself that is dangerous.

However, it may be a sign that someone is getting a poor night sleep, which in itself is linked with worse health outcomes.

“These results are especially interesting since millions of people might enjoy a regular, or even daily nap,” Dr Wang said. 

A bad night’s sleep now and again – and a subsequent nap – isn’t going to kill you.

However, the evidence stacks up that chronically bad sleepers are more likely to get health conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Studies also show they are more likely to see an early grave.

Dr Michael A. Grandner, a sleep expert and associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Arizona in Tucson, said naps are “not enough” to offset the harms of sleep deprivation.

Dr Grandner, who was not involved in the research, added: “This study echoes other findings that generally show that taking more naps seems to reflect increased risk for problems with heart health and other issues.” 

The study’s limitations include that the naps were self-reported, and the results may not be generalised because the study only included middle-aged European people.`

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