Turns Out Those Afternoon Naps You’re Not Getting Could Be Saving Your Life
Good news, moms! Missing all those leisurely afternoon naps might just be saving your life, or at least be a sign of good health. According to a studyÂ published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, adults who sleep for an hour or more during daylight hours increase their chances of premature death by almost one third. Lucky for us, napping is a luxury most parents can rarely afford, and if weÂ are napping too much, we’re a lot more likely to notice (ya know, when we wake up covered in marker and Cheerios).
Researchers speculate that this could be caused by inflammation triggered in the body during these afternoon snooze-fests, however the findings also suggest that the oh-so-elusive daytime nap could be an actual symptom of certain health issues. Scientists at Cambridge studied more than 16,000 women and men over the course of 13 years to investigate the effects of lifestyle choices and diet on cancer. They asked volunteers to give details about their sleeping habits, which of course includes any naps. They also recorded anyone who passed away during that time (slightly over 3,000 people) and the causes of death.
When they matched the sleeping habits with the mortality rates they found that the risk of death increased 14 percent in folks who slept less than 30 minutes during the day (aka the time it takes to doze off while your toddler watches an episode of Dora the Explorer). Unfortunately if their naps lasted longer than 60 minutes, their chances of dying from respiratory diseases more than doubled, while their overall chance of death went up by 32 percent. Queue the ominous music, DUN DUN DUN…
Researchers did note that longer daytime napping may just be the body’s way of dealing with an existing illness. Basically, if you find yourself falling asleep everyday to the sounds of Calliou or Ruff Ruffman, you should probably get thee to a physician to get that shiz checked out.
Thankfully, according to Jim Horne from the Sleep Research Center at Loughborough University, those 30 minute power naps that moms excel at can still have major advantages:
“The findings actually show that the great majority â€“ about 85 per cent â€“ of those people who napped less than one hour were at no greater risk.”
So feel free to get your nap on, ladies and gents. But if you find yourself frequently hitting the snooze button after 30 minutes, this might be the sign of trouble down the road.