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Can napping be good for your heart?

Researchers in Switzerland find a link between “occasional” naps and decreased risk of heart problems and disease.

A new nap study found a 60-minute siesta increases frustration tolerance and reduces impulsivity.
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Scientists confirmed what many nappers may already know: Napping can be good for your health.

Researchers in Switzerland have found a link between occasional napping (one or two times per week) and a lowered risk of stroke and heart disease, according to a report from CNN.

The study followed nearly 3,500 people over the course of five years. Researchers found that those who napped for even as little as five minutes once or twice per week were 48% less likely to have a heart attack or stroke than non-nappers, according to CNN.

However, if you are a more frequent napper, you might be out of luck.

The researchers said in their report: “Subjects who nap once or twice per week have a lower risk of incident cardiovascular disease events, while no association was found for more frequent napping or napping duration,” according to CNN.

NBC reports that the benefits of napping to heart health might be related to stress.

Nadine Häusler, lead author of the study, told NBC, “Our best guess is that a daytime nap just releases stress from insufficient sleep.”

According to Time, “Roughly one third of Americans ... don’t get the recommended minimum seven hours of rest per night.”

Time cites a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says that sleeping less than seven hours per day can lead to higher risk of “developing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and frequent mental distress.”

However, Naveed Sattar, professor of Metabolic Medicine at the University of Glasgow, who was not involved in the study, cautioned in an article by CNN, “I don’t think one can work out from this work whether ‘intentional’ napping on one or two days per week improves heart health.”

Sattar suggested, “For now, far better to aim for regular good night’s sleep and to follow usual lifestyle advice of good diets and decent activity levels.”

The authors of the study acknowledge that it is just a beginning look into the effects of napping on health.

Yue Leng, an epidemiologist who studies sleep behavior at the University of California San Francisco, and who published an editorial that accompanied the study, told NBC, “We don’t really know much about napping. We have a lot to learn.”