Napping is a common practice in many parts of the world, especially in hot climate regions. Until now, a short nap (less than half an hour) has been linked to potential health benefits. However, new research published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine and conducted by Spanish researchers, shows that naps of more than one hour are associated with a higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes, more waist circumference and higher fat levels in the body.
The study, from the Center of Biomedical Research in Network for Pathophysiology of Obesity and Nutrition (CIBEROBN), is a pioneer in analyzing this association. Experts observed people that nap more than 30 minutes have a higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes and a higher body mass index and waist circumference with each increase of 10 minutes per day napping.
The clinical trial was conducted in 2,190 elderly participants who were overweight and suffered from metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions that increases the risk of developing cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes.
“The nap was evaluated objectively by placing accelerometers (a device that detects physical or sedentary activity carried out throughout the day),” says Jordi Salas, principal investigator of CIBEROBN.
A short nap improves health
Previous work already showed how a short nap can improve alertness, performance and cognitive function, as well as reduce the risk of mortality.
“The problem comes when we extend the duration of the nap, especially more than 60 minutes a day. This is the duration that has been associated with greater morbidity and mortality compared to the absence of naps or shorter naps, ”says Jordi Salas.
The research is framed in the PREDIMED PLUS project (Prevention with Mediterranean-Plus Diet), an intensive lifestyle change program to lose weight and prevent cardiovascular diseases.