Afternoon sleeps lower heart attack risk –Study

The researchers noted that chronic lack of sleep can raise the risk of getting atherosclerosis or a build-up of cholesterol plaques within the arteries of the body.

“Atherosclerosis is a known risk factor for heart attacks. It leads to the narrowing and hardening of the arteries and when this happens in the coronary arteries, heart attack risks are significantly raised,” the researchers explained.

The study titled, Association of napping with incident cardiovascular events in a prospective cohort study was published in the British Medical Journal, Heart, as the researchers assessed the relationship of sleeping frequency and average nap duration with fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular disease events.

According to, the researchers noted that persons who slept for a bit in the afternoon seemed to have a 50 per cent lower risk for heart attacks compared to those who did not get enough sleep.

The team added that shortage of sleep time at night could be corrected by taking an afternoon nap.

The study authors looked at 3,462 individuals aged between 35 and 75 years and followed them up for over five years.

Results of the study revealed that there were 155 cases of heart attacks or strokes among the participants during the over five years of the research.

“Napping even once or twice a week was found to have a 48 per cent lower risk of getting the heart attacks compared to those who did not nap at all, the researchers wrote. No association was found between short or long nap duration and risk of CVD events, the team wrote.

“Occasional napping might be the result of a physiological compensation allowing for a decrease in stress due to insufficient nocturnal sleep and thus could have a beneficial effect on CVD events.”

The researchers explained that on awakening from naps there may be a transient surge in blood pressure and heart rate and this may raise the risk of CVD events in the short term but occasional naps had stress releasing effect.

The lead author of the study, Dr Nadine Hausler, explained that the team accounted for other factors that could have affected the risk of heart attacks or strokes in the individuals during the study.

“Subjects who nap once or twice per week have a lower risk for incident CVD events, while no association was found for more frequent napping or napping duration. Nap frequency may help explain the discrepant findings regarding the association between napping and CVD events.

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