Longer naps are associated with a higher risk of obesity, while shorter naps are associated with a lower risk of hypertension.
Is siesta your secret weapon for better health? While this question has sparked disagreements among scientists for decades, what is certain is that a midday nap affects how our bodies function.
In a recent study published in the scientific journal Obesity, a team of Spanish scientists delved into the problem of napping. Their findings shed new light on the relationship between nap time and place and several metabolic markers, including obesity.
The study was conducted on more than 3,000 Spaniards living in Murcia.
They found that those who slept longer than 30 minutes had a BMI (a measure of weight for height) that was 2 percent higher than those who didn’t sleep.
They also had a 23% higher risk of obesity and a 40% higher risk of metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions that increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
On the other hand, those who took short naps of less than 30 minutes had a 21 percent lower risk of high blood pressure.
“Long naps are associated with increased body mass index, triglycerides, blood sugar levels and blood pressure in metabolic syndrome,” said study author Marta Galauletto, professor of physiology at the University of Murcia in Spain.
“By contrast, shorter naps have been found to be associated with a lower likelihood of developing high blood pressure, making naps protective in some ways.”
the study Garaulet et al. concluded that nap time should be considered for an ‘association with obesity,’ but the results only show an ‘association,’ not formal causation, Garaulet said. clarified.
In other words, the researchers show a “relevant” association, for example, between people who nap for long hours and those at increased risk of obesity, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that these people take long naps. Being overweight doesn’t mean being overweight. It’s not like I’m taking long naps because of my weight.
culture and napping
Last year, Garolet led another study of 450,000 people at the UK Biobank and found 127 genetic variants associated with napping. “The higher the nap genetics, the more frequent naps,” Gallaurett told Euronews Next. I can’t take a nap. “
studying english – Unlike the Spanish study, a statistical technique used in genetic research to investigate causal relationships between risk factors and health outcomes, called Mendelian randomization, was used. The technique allowed Garolet’s team to point to “a potential causal link between more frequent daytime naps and increased blood pressure and waist circumference.”
The Spanish findings are inconclusive as they do not use statistical methods. However, they do provide new insights into naps.
The British study was conducted on a population with a median age of 60, “napping is not a habit of the culture,” Spanish scientists said. That’s why she wanted to know what was happening not only in a sample of young people with fewer illnesses, but also in a country with a well-established siesta culture and warmer temperatures.
Heat was relevant because previous studies have shown that the siesta gene is activated by heat.
“Summer temperatures activate the PER3 gene, the clock that initiates naps,” said Gallauret, which might explain why Mediterranean regions are more likely than Nordic countries to nap at noon.
Some people don’t have the siesta gene, she explained. “But if you have the siesta gene, warmer climates can activate this siesta gene, making you sleepy during the day.”
The Spanish conclusions refine those obtained from the Bank of England, and Galaulet explores more detailed aspects of daytime sleep episodes, particularly how nap length affects the health of those assessed. Not only were we able to assess whether people were Sleep impacts health benefits.
“There’s a good association between short naps and improved blood pressure, especially if you sleep in an armchair or sofa instead of lying in bed,” Garolet said.
Humans don’t seem to be designed to change positions significantly throughout the day, which can raise blood pressure, she explained.
Consistent with findings linking obesity to long naps, Harvard visiting professor Professor Gallaurett recently concluded that long naps are likely to alter the rhythm of an enzyme called lipase. announced. It plays an important role in the digestion and metabolism of dietary fats.
Napping Improves Workforce
Garolet said understanding the science behind naps could help recommend new methodologies for improving employee performance.
Research so far found that short naps were associated with improvements in working memory, particularly in sleep-deprived subjects, with improved performance and alertness, but the long-term effects of habitual naps on chronic disease risk remain unclear. It is debatable.
“That’s why this is a subject of interest and to help determine whether naps should be recommended in the workplace for all these benefits, but more research is needed,” said Garolet. .
To get definitive results about the metabolic effects of naps, scientists need to conduct randomized crossover studies, he added. This requires conducting an experiment in which the same individual takes a nap while not taking a nap.
“The problem with these studies is that they can only be conducted for a short period of time, so it is possible to examine the acute effects of naps, but not their overall health effects.”
Acute effects refer to short-term changes or responses observed after a particular intervention or exposure, such as memory improvement for short naps.
To draw conclusions about metabolic risk or obesity, researchers would have to spend months on the same subjects. “And it’s impossible to get someone who doesn’t nap, or who doesn’t have a genetic predisposition to nap, to nap or nap every day.” I don’t,” she said.
However, although it can be difficult to conduct randomized crossover studies, previous long-term studies have provided evidence that siesta has health benefits. Back in 2007. Research conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health They suggested that naps contribute to the reduced incidence of heart disease observed in Mediterranean countries.
The study, which followed more than 23,000 people for six years, found that regular naps could reduce heart disease deaths by 37 percent, lower cholesterol, eat healthier, and exercise.
Modern lifestyles have a huge impact on how often, how long and when we sleep, and while studies on naps may not provide conclusive evidence, they are important to our health, well-being and wellbeing. There is a vast amount of scientific literature supporting the idea that nothing is more important. More productive than a good night’s sleep.