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Healthgrades for ProfessionalsWhat Does Napping Say About Your Risk of High Blood Pressure and Stroke?

Napping and its Potential Impact on Hypertension and Stroke Risk: Exploring the Connection

Recent research indicates that habitual daytime napping may be associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure and stroke. This comprehensive review looks into various studies examining the potential links between napping duration and these health outcomes, providing insights into the nuanced effects and practical implications for clinical practice.

Key Points:

  • A 2022 study analyzed data from 358,451 individuals in the UK Biobank, none of whom had hypertension or a history of stroke at the study’s onset.
    • Findings indicated that habitual nappers had a higher risk of developing essential hypertension and both general and ischemic stroke compared to non-nappers.
  • Mixed results from other studies on napping and high blood pressure:
    • A 2016 review of nine studies found an increased risk of hypertension with daytime napping, though limited research suggested nighttime napping might reduce this risk.
    • A 2019 study reported that middle-aged and older females who napped for more than 90 minutes were significantly more likely to develop high blood pressure. No significant association was found in males.
  • A 2021 study using data from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) found that napping for 90 minutes or more daily was associated with a higher risk of hypertension. Conversely, reducing nap duration to 1–59 minutes per day decreased the risk.
  • Another 2022 study on 14,532 Chinese participants from CHARLS examined the relationship between sleep patterns and stroke risk.
    • Participants sleeping less than 7 hours per day had an increased stroke risk compared to those sleeping 7–9 hours.
    • Nighttime sleep durations of 6 hours or less were linked to a higher risk of stroke.
    • Napping might offset some stroke risk associated with insufficient nighttime sleep.
  • The CDC identifies other risk factors for high blood pressure, including:
    • Diabetes
    • Unhealthy diet (excess sodium, inadequate potassium)
    • Physical inactivity
    • Obesity
    • Alcohol and tobacco use
    • Family history of hypertension
  • High blood pressure can elevate stroke risk, with additional stroke risk factors being:
    • Diabetes
    • Heart disease
    • High cholesterol
    • Smoking
    • Family history of stroke
    • Inflammatory conditions (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis, lupus)
    • Brain conditions (e.g., aneurysms, atypical artery, and vein formations)

Middle-aged females who napped for more than 90 minutes were 39% more likely to have high blood pressure.

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