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Naps Could be Harmful, Study Finds

Update Date: Apr 16, 2014 03:38 PM EDT

For some people, regardless of age, daytime napping is an important part of life. Naps can help make people feel rejuvenated and refreshed. However, even though naps might feel good, a new study is claiming that naps could be harmful to one's health.

In this study, the researchers recruited 16,374 participants from Britain, where there is no napping culture. The volunteers were monitored for 13 years. Over this time span, roughly 3,000 participants had died. The researchers collected data on the participants' napping habits, their overall physical health and causes of death.

The researchers calculated that people who napped less than one hour per day had a 14 percent increased risk of dying. For people who napped more than one hour per day, their risk of dying increased almost threefold to 32 percent. The increased death risks were associated with lung conditions, such as bronchitis, emphysema and pneumonia. The researchers stated their study did not find a cause and effect relationship and that the correlation between napping and risk of death could be tied to people's health conditions.

"There's a reason they need to nap, perhaps, which includes many of the major sleep diseases," Dr. Steven Feinsilver, director of the Sleep Center at Mount Sinai Medical Center commented according to CBS Local. "The main reason to be sleepy is sleep apnea, and we know that sleep apnea is associated with an increased risk of cardiac disease, stroke, and death."

The researchers concluded that even though napping might not be detrimental, the need to nap could be an indicator of sleep deprivation or other underlying health conditions. People should strive to get more than seven hours of good sleep per night.

"It remains plausible that napping might be an early sign of system disregulation and a marker of future health problems," the researchers wrote according to the Dailymail.

The study was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

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