Scientists: Frequent sleep may be a sign of a serious health risk!

A large new study has concluded that regular and frequent naps are associated with a higher risk of high blood pressure and stroke.

An analysis of 358,451 anonymous UK biobank records found a link, suggesting it could be more than a coincidence.

Being a correlational study, the numbers do not necessarily mean that the fault lies with the pile itself. It is possible that poor sleep patterns are the problem, and these brief moments of daytime rest may not be enough to protect us from the health deficits that result.

“These results are particularly interesting because millions of people can enjoy regular or even daily sleep,” said Anesthetist Ei Wang from Central Xiangya University in China.

Previous research has suggested a possible link between daytime sleep and high blood pressure, and therefore one of its main complications is stroke. In fact, daytime naps may coincide with an increased risk of high blood pressure and stroke. Both conditions are serious: high blood pressure, which is diagnosed by persistent high blood pressure, is the leading cause of premature death, and stroke can lead to serious long-term disability and death.

To further expand on previous research, the researchers used the Biobank to conduct a study that included Mendelian randomization — the effect of genetic differences on an outcome to determine causality — and observations that occurred over long periods of time.

The database contains information on more than 500,000 UK residents aged 40 to 69 between 2006 and 2010 who regularly provided samples and updated information about their health. There was also a survey on daytime sleep conducted by some of the biobank participants; This survey was conducted four times between 2010 and 2019.

From the biobank data, the researchers excluded all people who already had high blood pressure or who had had a stroke prior to the start of the study. There were 358,451 people whose health information contributed to the study, including 50,507 cases of high blood pressure and 4,333 cases of stroke.

This extensive sample revealed interesting information. For example, most of those who sleep regularly were men and smokers, had lower levels of education and income, and reported both insomnia and snoring.

A higher frequency of daytime sleep has also been positively associated with a genetic predisposition to hypertension.

Those who slept regularly had a 12% higher risk of high blood pressure than those who rarely slept, and a 24% higher risk of stroke. This risk was higher for younger participants under the age of 60, who had a 20% risk of high blood pressure compared to 10% for those over 60.

The increased frequency of daytime sleep, reported by about a quarter of the participants, also raised concerns.

Clinical psychologist and sleep expert Michael Grandiner of the University of Arizona, who was not involved in the study, said: “Although sleep itself is not harmful, many people who sleep may do so due to lack of sleep at night.” Nighttime sleep is associated with poor health, and daytime sleep is not enough to compensate. This study reflects other findings, which generally show that longer sleep appears to reflect an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and other problems.”

This does not mean that a causal relationship should be ruled out. Scientists have previously documented that blood pressure can rise after daytime sleep. This may play a role in the increased risk of stroke when naps occur, although another mechanism may also be responsible. In any case, it appears that further research is needed.

“Our study, along with previous clinical studies, suggests further exploration of the mechanistic basis of the association between healthy sleep patterns, including daytime sleep, and cardiovascular disease,” the researchers wrote in their paper.

The study was published in the journal Hypertension.

Source: Science Alert.