We know that there are many benefits to a 15-minute power nap, but what happens when our napping becomes too frequent?
Recent research suggests that napping on a regular basis can be associated with a higher risk of blood pressure and stroke.
Those suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can also be at a heightened risk for heart conditions, drawing a parallel between OSA, sleep deprivation, and napping. OSA is a sleep condition that causes breathing to stop during sleep, often resulting in daytime sleepiness, snoring, and/or morning headaches. Typically, people with sleep apnea rely on napping to catch up on their rest, but as this study highlights, this may be a sign of a serious problem.
The Scientific Connection
In a recent study by the American Heart Association, Chinese researchers used information from UK Biobank, a bio-medical database and research resource containing anonymous health information, to recruit more than 500,000 participants between 40-69 years old.
Between 2006-2019, these participants’ napping habits were observed and evaluated four times.
The study found that individuals who napped the most were men, had lower education and income levels, or reported cigarette smoking, daily drinking, insomnia, and issues with snoring.
Those who reported frequent napping had a 12% higher risk of developing high blood pressure as well as a 24% higher risk of having a stroke. Individuals who had an increase in napping over time had a 40% increased risk of developing high blood pressure.
OSA has been linked to a range of cardiovascular diseases, most often hypertension, or high blood pressure. Research suggests that the treatment of OSA can lower blood pressure in the long-term, both at night and during the day.
Those experiencing sleep apnea may have an urge to take a nap during the day if their overnight sleep was disrupted or they wake up not feeling completely rested. Because of this, it is not shocking to find this link between sleep apnea, frequent napping, and hypertension.
If you or someone you know has consistently poor sleep quality, feels the need to nap often, and experiences OSA symptoms such as snoring, it may be time to seek help from a sleep health professional.
If you live in the Atlanta area, Dr. Jeff Rodgers is here to help. Request an appointment today to learn more about treating obstructive sleep apnea using a simple, custom-made oral appliance.