Getting enough sleep is one of the keys to health. However, recent research suggests that taking too long a nap may not have a good effect on your health. This Japanese study shows that taking too long a nap or feeling very sleepy during the day may be associated with an increased risk of various health problems such as metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. These include metabolic syndrome conditions including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar levels, and excess fat around the waist.
The results showed the risk of taking a nap too long
Researchers from the University of Tokyo conducted an experiment involving 307,237 people. The researchers analyzed 21 studies involving people from the western and eastern parts of the world. The participants from this experiment must answer questions such as:
- “Do you often feel sleepy during the day?”
- “Do you often take a nap?”
The researchers compared the answers from participants with a history of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and obesity from participants. As a result, there are three main risks of a long nap duration, namely:
1. Type 2 diabetes
The results of the study show that indeed taking too long a nap or often feeling sleepy during the day is associated with type 2 diabetes. Napping more than 1 hour will increase the risk of type 2 diabetes by 46%, whereas if you always feel very tired during the day the risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases by 56%. The results of this study were presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.
2. Metabolic syndrome
The results of the study presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 65th Annual Scientific Session show that too long napping is associated with an increased risk of metabolic syndrome. Napping less than 40 minutes does not cause an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome. However, the risk starts to increase if the person naps more than 40 minutes. In fact, people who take a nap for 1.5-3 hours have an increased risk of developing the metabolic syndrome by 50%. Interestingly, the researchers saw that the risk of the metabolic syndrome decreased if the person’s nap time was less than 30 minutes.
3. Heart disease
The researchers also showed that naps more than 1 hour would increase the risk of heart disease by 82% and increase the risk of death by 27%.
Further research needs to be done
Researchers who are members of this study say that further research is still needed to confirm the results of this study. The researchers recommend that further research should be focused on finding out whether there are benefits to heart health if taking a nap for a short period of time. In addition, research also needs to be done to see how the mechanism between taking too long a nap, drowsiness during the day, and metabolic syndrome can relate to one another.
It could also be for the future, the researchers saw whether there was a risk of other diseases due to taking too long a nap. Although this research was conducted based on data from 300,000 people, it still does not present the entire world population. This data is also very dependent on subjective self-assessment, not objective assessment in the laboratory with sleep tracker.
Napping is a common practice in all parts of the world. So, finding a connection between the duration of napping and various diseases such as metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease may offer new strategies in the treatment of these diseases. Especially nowadays the number of people who suffer from metabolic diseases is increasing throughout the world.
So, how long is the best nap time?
Researchers say that indeed sleep is one of the important components in a healthy lifestyle, including diet and exercise. Napping for a short period of time does have a good effect on health. However, until now it was not known what mechanism made napping useful.
The results of the study show that people who take a maximum of 40 minutes napping do not show an increase in the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Furthermore, the risk decreases if no more than 30 minutes nap.
Although this theory does require further research, the National Sleep Foundation has taken steps to address this discovery. They recommend the best nap period that can increase the sharpness of your performance by 20-30 minutes.