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Keep naps to 30 minutes or less, heart researchers say


Photo: Black Lollipop/iStockphoto

Do you take long naps? If so, you may have an increased risk of developing atrial fibrillation – an abnormal heart rhythm that can trigger serious health problems. 

Researchers in Spain conducted a study and follow-up of more than 20,000 adults. They found that people who napped for less than 15 minutes a day had a 42% lower risk of developing a-fib than people whose daytime naps were longer than 30 minutes. Participants who napped for 15-30 minutes a day had a 56% reduced risk.


“The results suggest that the optimal napping duration is 15 to 30 minutes,” study co-author Jesus Diaz-Gutierrez of Juan Ramon Jimenez University Hospital in Huelva, Spain, said in a press release. “Larger studies are needed to determine whether a short nap is preferable to not napping at all. There are numerous potential explanations for the associations between napping and health.

“For example, long daytime naps may disrupt the body’s internal clock, leading to shorter nighttime sleep, more nocturnal awakening and reduced physical activity. In contrast, short daytime napping may improve circadian rhythm, lower blood pressure levels and reduce stress.”

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