This study will make you think twice about ever napping again

Rarely does academic research address the adverse health outcomes associated with too much sleep but that is about to change.

We already know that insufficient rest is a correlative predictor of an innumerable amount of chronic diseases, but a new report published in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology recently disclosed that individuals that sleep more than nine hours a night increase their risk of having a stroke by 24% and those that regularly nap for longer than 90 minutes a day are 25% more likely to have a stroke later in life compared to people who take naps lasting between one to 30 minutes.

“More research is needed to understand how taking long naps and sleeping longer hours at night may be tied to an increased risk of stroke, but previous studies have shown that long nappers and sleepers have unfavorable changes in their cholesterol levels and increased waist circumferences, both of which are risk factors for stroke,” explained study author Xiaomin Zhang, MD, PhD, of Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China.

Projected stroke risk premised by excessive sleep

The study’s results were derived from 31, 750 recruited citizens of China. At the beginning of the study, the average age of the participants was 62 and none had a previous history of stokes or any other documented major health concerns. After a follow-up review conducted six years after the start of the study, 1,557 stroke cases were reported.

In order to fully unmask a suspected correlation, the researchers inquired after the sleeping habits of each of the respondents. Eight percent of these took naps lasting more than 90 minutes a day and 24 percent said that they slept nine or more hours per night.

For the record, these finds were even adjusted for relevant factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, drinking, and smoking. Not only did the findings reveal the 25% and 24% increase for strokes due to extended naps and sleep respectively, Zang and his team additionally determined that people who slept less than seven hours a night or between eight and nine hours a night did not evidence any adverse link to suffering a stroke than those who slept from seven to less than eight hours per night.

Moreover, people who both slept for longer than nine hours per night and napped longer than 90 minutes per day were 84% more likely to have a stroke compared to their counterparts. The implications of these results would not be  100% translatable in a  western case study for a couple of reasons, chief among these regards a salient culture demarcation raised by Dr. Yang. Midday napping is much more commonplace in China than it is in the US. The study group was also comprised of sextenarians who were of relatively good cardio-health; another regularity unique to the peoples of China.

“These results highlight the importance of moderate napping and sleeping duration and maintaining good sleep quality, especially in middle-aged and older adults,” Zang continued in a press statement to Science Daily.  “In addition, long napping and sleeping may suggest an overall inactive lifestyle, which is also related to increased risk of stroke.”