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Want to take a siesta? It's better to make it a short one

It turns out that taking a long nap in the middle of the day is associated with a number of poor health outcomes.
Want to take a siesta? It's better to make it a short one
Posted at 12:34 PM, Apr 27, 2023

A midday siesta sounds relaxing, right? Researchers from the University of Murcia in Spain wanted to examine if there is an association between siestas and obesity. 

The study included 3,275 adults from the Mediterranean and found that long siestas were associated with higher values of body mass index levels, waist circumference, fasting glucose, systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure. The study considered a siesta lasting over 30 minutes as “long.”

According to the study, 35% of those surveyed take regular midday naps: 19% take short naps, and 16% take long siestas. 

The research also said high smoking rates were noted among those who took longer siestas. 

Delays in nighttime sleep and eating schedules also were associated with higher BMI levels. 

“Results call for studies to investigate whether short siestas are advisable over long siestas, especially in individuals with behaviors that mediate the association between long siestas and obesity, such as delayed meals and sleep schedules, or in those who smoke,” the researchers said. “In addition, studies are needed to test whether lower caloric intake at lunch decreases the deleterious effects of long napping on obesity and systolic blood pressure.”

SEE MORE: Why do screens affect our sleep?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, both short and long naps can counteract fatigue. 

“A brief nap (15-30 minutes) can increase alertness for a couple of hours after the nap, with less grogginess, and does not disrupt subsequent sleep at night because it does not reduce the homeostatic buildup of pressure for sleep,” the CDC said.


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