A report released in the February 12 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine stated that Greek adults who took regular midday naps had a lower risk of death caused by heart disease. The report stated that though heart-related deaths are lower in countries where people enjoy siestas, few studies conducted earlier have taken into account other factors like age and physical activity.
Between 1994 and 1999, Androniki Naska of Greece who holds a Ph.D. from University of Athens Medical School, and his colleagues conducted a research on 23,681 Greek men and women who were aged 20 to 86 years. When these people enrolled in the study, they had no history of heart ailments.
In the initial stages of the study, the researchers asked these participants if they took midday naps. For those who answered in the affirmative, the frequency of such naps was also noted. The dietary habits and level of physical activity of these people over the preceding year were also taken into account.
During the follow-up of an average of 6.32 years, 792 participants expired. 133 among these had heart-related deaths. After considering cardiovascular risk factors, the researchers found that the chance of heart-related deaths was 34 percent lower in case of individuals who took naps (irrespective of the frequency) as compared to those who did not enjoy midday naps.
Systematic nappers, who took midday naps for 30 minutes or more – a minimum of three times every week, had 37 percent lower risk of dying from heart-related ailments. Among working men, midday nappers had a 64 percent lower risk of having heart-related deaths than those took no midday nap.
In case of non-working men, a 36 percent reduction in the chances of having heart-related deaths was noted. A similar analysis was not possible among women as only six working women died during this period.
The researchers concluded that their report showed stress-releasing effects of a midday siesta. They remarked that midday naps reduced coronary mortality and decreased the chances of heart-related deaths.