For anyone lucky enough to have the time and ability to take an afternoon nap or two during the week, here is some very good news: Napping can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.  

A new Swiss study looked at the connection between napping habits and cardiovascular disease (CVD) and found, albeit with some caveats, that one or two daytime naps per week can lead to a significantly lower (48%) risk of heart-related health events, including heart attack, stroke and heart failure.

“Subjects who nap once or twice per week have a lower risk of incident CVD (cardiovascular disease) events, while no association was found for more frequent napping or napping duration,” the report’s authors said.

The study was first conducted between 2003 and 2006 in Lausanne, Switzerland, with 6,733 participants between the ages of 35 and 75. Since then, there have been two follow-up studies: the first between April 2009 and September 2012, and the second between May 2014 and April 2017.  

The final results analyzed data from 3,462 subjects monitored over five years on average. None of the subjects had a history of cardiovascular disease, and they self-reported their sleep habits, including frequency and duration of napping.  

While the positive napping news is welcome, the study relied on subjects being honest in their self-reporting, and they were only asked about their afternoon napping habits. 

Naveed Sattar, Professor of Metabolic Medicine at the University of Glasgow told CNN, “I don’t think one can work out from this work whether ‘intentional’ napping on one or two days per week improves heart health, so no one should take from this that napping is a way to lessen their heart attack risk.”

So, still try to get a good night’s sleep. But the next time your eyes get heavy mid-afternoon, remember that an afternoon snooze could be good for your health. Not that you needed an excuse.

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