Long midday napping or sleeping for more than nine hours at night could increase your risk of stroke, shows study

People who are both long nappers and long sleepers are 85% more likely to later have a stroke than people who are moderate sleepers and nappers, shows analysis.


                            Long midday napping or sleeping for more than nine hours at night could increase your risk of stroke, shows study
People who take a regular midday nap lasting over 90 minutes are 25% more likely to have a stroke. (Getty Images)

People who take long naps during the day or sleep nine or more hours at night could find themselves at an increased risk of stroke. 

Those who took a regular midday nap lasting for more than 90 minutes were 25% more likely to have a stroke later as compared to those who took regular naps lasting from one to 30 minutes, according to a study published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The researchers also found that people who sleep nine or more hours per night were 23% more likely to later have a stroke than people who sleep seven to less than eight hours per night.

“People who love taking long naps had a higher risk of incident coronary heart disease and stroke. Therefore, we advise that people, especially middle-aged and older adults, should pay more attention to their time spent in bed attempting to sleep and nap because that appropriate duration of nap and sleep is needed not only to prevent coronary heart disease but also to prevent stroke,” study author Dr. Xiaomin Zhang from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China, told MEA WorldWide (MEAWW).

While the research team says that more research is needed to understand how taking long naps and sleeping longer hours at night may be tied to an increased risk of stroke, they say long nappers and sleepers have unfavorable changes in their cholesterol levels and increased waist circumferences, both of which are risk factors for stroke.

“We have observed that longer sleep or nap duration was significantly associated with increases in triglycerides and waist circumference, or a reduction in HDL-cholesterol (also known as good cholesterol), all of which are common predisposing factors for stroke,” Dr. Zhang told MEAWW. 

Besides, says the team, long napping and sleeping may suggest an overall inactive lifestyle, which is also related to increased risk of stroke.

“The physical inactivity of long sleepers or nap takers would reduce energy expenditure, increase the risk of obesity, sugar and blood pressure being out of whack, and trigger a thrombotic effect or cause even more tiredness or exhaustion, trapping people in more sedentary behavior,” Dr. Zhang told MEAWW. 

The study involved 31,750 people with an average age of 62. The people did not have any history of stroke or other major health problems at the start of the study. They were followed for an average of six years.

Long nappers and sleepers have unfavorable changes in their cholesterol levels and increased waist circumferences, both of which are risk factors for stroke, says the research team. (Getty Images)

The people were asked questions about their sleep and napping habits. During that time, there were 1,557 stroke cases. Eight percent of the people took naps lasting more than 90 minutes, and 24% said they slept nine or more hours per night.

The analysis shows that people who were both long nappers and long sleepers were 85% more likely to later have a stroke than people who were moderate sleepers and nappers. Of the long nappers, 1% of cases per person-years later had a stroke, compared to 0.7% of cases per person-years of the moderate nappers. The numbers were the same for the long and moderate sleepers, with 1% of cases per person-years compared to 0.7% of cases per person-years having a stroke.

“Long sleep duration, long midday napping, and poor sleep quality were independently and jointly associated with higher risks of incident stroke. Persistently long sleep duration or switch from average to long sleep duration increased the risk of stroke. We found that both long sleep duration (≥9 hours/night) and long midday napping (>90 minutes) were significantly associated with higher risk of incident total stroke, and the associations were observed in ischemic stroke particularly,” the findings state.

People who sleep less than seven hours per night or between eight and less than nine hours per night were no more likely to have a stroke than those who slept from seven to less than eight hours per night, says the study. The analysis also shows that people who took no naps or took naps lasting from 31 minutes to one hour were no more likely to have a stroke than people who took naps lasting from one to 30 minutes.

The researchers also asked people about how well they slept. People who said their sleep quality was poor were 29% more likely to later have a stroke than people who said their sleep quality was good. The results, says Dr. Zhang, highlight the importance of moderate napping and sleeping duration and maintaining good sleep quality.

“From the public health point of view, it is important to provide the general population a ‘general’ guideline for healthy behavior. However, some ‘healthy’ lifestyle would benefit the vast majority, if not all, of various populations. Based on the current findings, we may plan to explore the risk of cardiovascular disease-related to sleep status considering individual genetic background, then try to develop a more efficient genetic-targeted guideline of healthy sleep and nap for specific sub-populations,” Dr. Zhang told MEAWW.



If you have a news scoop or an interesting story for us, please reach out at (323) 421-7514