Long naps in daytime may harm your heart rhythm

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A new study at Juan Ramon Jimenez University Hospital in Huelva, Spain suggests that taking naps during the day that are longer than 30 minutes can nearly double the risk of developing an irregular heartbeat.

Researchers found that people who nap for 30 minutes or more each day have a 90% higher risk of developing atrial fibrillation (a-fib), a heart rhythm disorder, than those who take shorter naps.

The study tracked more than 20,000 Spanish university graduates over nearly 14 years, dividing them into three groups: those who don’t nap, those who nap less than 30 minutes, and those who nap 30 minutes or more each day.

During this time, 131 participants developed a-fib.

A-fib is a common heart rhythm disorder that causes the heart’s upper chambers to beat irregularly, increasing a person’s risk of stroke fivefold, according to the researchers.

They noted that people with disturbed nighttime sleep should avoid relying on napping to make up for a lack of sleep.

The study found that those taking longer naps had nearly twice the risk of developing a-fib compared to those taking short naps.

Meanwhile, people who didn’t nap did not have any elevated a-fib risk compared to short-nappers.

Looking more closely at short nappers, the researchers found that those who napped for fewer than 15 minutes had a 42% lower risk of developing a-fib, while those who napped for 15 to 30 minutes had a 56% reduced risk compared with long nappers.

The results suggest that the optimal napping duration is 15 to 30 minutes. Larger studies are needed to determine whether a short nap is preferable to not napping at all.

While the study found an association between naps and a-fib risk, it could not prove cause and effect.

The team suggested that long daytime naps may disrupt the body’s internal clock, leading to shorter nighttime sleep, more nocturnal awakening, and reduced physical activity.

On the other hand, short daytime napping may improve the body’s circadian rhythm, lower blood pressure levels, and reduce stress.

The study highlights the importance of understanding the potential health risks associated with prolonged napping and the importance of maintaining a healthy sleep schedule.

How to prevent A-Fib

Although there is no guaranteed way to prevent atrial fibrillation (Afib), there are some steps people can take to reduce their risk. Here are a few things to consider:

Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight can increase the risk of developing Afib.

Exercise regularly: Regular exercise can help to keep the heart healthy and reduce the risk of developing Afib.

Manage underlying health conditions: Chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and sleep apnea can increase the risk of developing Afib. It is essential to manage these conditions effectively.

Avoid stimulants: Stimulants such as caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol can trigger Afib in some people. Limiting or avoiding these substances can help to reduce the risk of developing Afib.

Manage stress: Stress can contribute to the development of Afib. Practicing stress management techniques, such as yoga or meditation, can help to reduce stress levels and reduce the risk of developing Afib.

Get enough sleep: Getting enough quality sleep is important for overall health and can help to reduce the risk of developing Afib.

Follow a heart-healthy diet: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats can help to keep the heart healthy and reduce the risk of developing Afib.

It is also important to work with a healthcare provider to develop an individualized plan to manage the risk of developing Afib.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about a surprising cause of abnormal heart rhythm, and many common meds could harm your heart rhythm.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about how eating eggs can help reduce heart disease risk, and Vitamin K2 could help reduce heart disease risk.

The study was conducted by Dr. Jesus Diaz-Gutierrez et al.

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