Many ill effects of long afternoon naps on your health | Health - Hindustan Times
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Long afternoon naps can be deadly; Experts on many ill effects of sleeping during daytime

By, New Delhi
May 02, 2023 12:48 PM IST

Being addicted to afternoon naps can do you more harm than good. Know how the habit can put you at risk of several diseases.

Midday naps can be blissful after a full meal and nothing is quite as refreshing as a few minutes of shut-eye when the afternoon slumber takes over. One may get rid of the sluggishness, the irritability and the tiredness mostly due to sleep deficit of the past night and feel all refreshed and full of energy for the rest of the day. However, stretch this a little longer to little more than half-n-hour and the benefits may reverse, and one is at risk of feeling groggy all day. This is not it. Your unhealthy addiction to afternoon naps every day can make you susceptible to diseases like diabetes, heart issues, high blood pressure among others. Here's what experts told HT Digital. (Also read: Love napping in afternoon? Expert on ideal time and duration for taking a nap)

Your unhealthy addiction to afternoon naps every day can make you susceptible to diseases like diabetes, heart issues, high blood pressure among others.(Freepik)
Your unhealthy addiction to afternoon naps every day can make you susceptible to diseases like diabetes, heart issues, high blood pressure among others.(Freepik)

"Researchers believe that longer midday naps of more than 30 minutes may be related to a higher BMI, higher blood pressure, and diseases associated with heart disease and diabetes. However, those who took 'power naps' - 30-minute or less midday naps - were less likely to have high blood pressure.

DANGERS OF MID-DAY NAP

Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston analysed over 3,000 people from a Mediterranean community where midday naps known as 'siestas' are widespread in a new study published in the journal Obesity. The researchers investigated the link between siestas and their duration and obesity and metabolic syndrome," says Dr Aparna Govil Bhasker, Bariatric and laparoscopic surgeon, Saifee, Apollo Spectra, Namaha and Currae Hospitals, Mumbai.

"People who took siestas of 30 minutes or longer were found to have a higher BMI, higher blood pressure, and other conditions associated with heart disease and diabetes when compared to those who did not nap. It could also be the other way around as the people who did not get a proper sleep in the night due to factors like obesity, obstructive sleep apnoea, sleep disorders etc may tend to take longer naps during the day. More research is needed in this area. Furthermore, those who took short naps were less likely to have elevated systolic blood pressure than those who did not take siestas," adds Dr Aparna.

People are more likely to benefit from afternoon naps if they are sleep deprived. However, sleeping for more than the required hours can do more harm than good. Besides, sleeping in daytime can affect the quality of night-time sleep which is more important.

"Sleep is essential to maintain the functionality of the human body and to allow the various organ systems to work in perfect harmony and in an optimal state. An optimal night sleep duration for a healthy lifestyle in adults ranges from 7-8 hours. Sleeping less is associated with tiredness, fatigue and lack of motivation and zeal. Many people tend to compensate for a lack of sleep at night by taking naps in the midday or afternoon," says Dr Sanjay Verma, Director - Minimal Access, Bariatric and GI Surgery, Fortis Escorts, Okhla Road, New Delhi.

"Longer siestas were associated with sleeping late at night and eating, increased energy intake at lunch, and cigarette smoking. Sleeping immediately after a meal is associated with lowered basal metabolic rates and this in turn leads to weight gain and the consequences thereof. Conversely, those taking short naps were less likely to show elevated systolic blood pressure than those who took no siestas. However, these findings are based on preliminary research and further research in the field is warranted before drawing any absolute conclusions from the same," adds Dr Verma.

"Although, taking an afternoon nap, better termed as ‘power naps’ can be quite an appealing idea in the midst of tiring routine as it makes up for the lost sleep during nights, however, napping for more than a span of 30 minutes can result in increased risks of obesity and higher blood pressure. Longer naps during the daytime can induce insomnia in people leading to unnecessary night time snacking that can in turn cause obesity. In addition, it can become a factor to cause a range of health concerns like higher BMI, higher blood pressure, and other conditions associated with heart disease and diabetes as compared to those who did not nap. It is advisable to go for short and sweet midday napping for a healthier self, says Dr Ajay Nair, Consultant - Internal Medicine, Narayana Multispeciality Hospital, Jaipur.

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