Afternoon Siesta For More Than 30 Minutes Associated With Obesity, Study Shows

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A recent study suggests that individuals who take naps for more than 30 minutes during the day are at a greater risk of being obese or experiencing high blood pressure. For example, the researchers found that those in Spain who took longer siestas had higher Body Mass Index (BMI), blood pressure levels, and other health conditions associated with diabetes and heart disease. On the other hand, individuals who took “power naps” for less than half an hour were able to avoid these health risks and even had better blood pressure levels than those who did not take naps at all.

Duration of siesta important in overall health

The team of researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital concludes that a siesta’s duration is crucial for productivity at work and overall health.

The word “siesta” originates from the Latin word “sexta,” meaning the sixth hour, and refers to the nap taken after the midday meal. The practice has been shared for centuries in warm regions like the Mediterranean and Latin America, with Spain, where the tradition began, still observing it today with many businesses closing between 2 pm and 4 pm to allow employees to rest during the hottest time of the day.

Longer siestas associated with higher BMIs

Researchers looked into data from 3,275 Spanish adults in Murcia, Spain, to examine the connection between napping and obesity, considering cultural differences. The study found that individuals who took longer siestas had higher BMIs, larger waist circumference, and higher blood pressure. They were also more likely to have metabolic syndrome, which increases the risk of several severe health conditions.

The study found that longer siestas were associated with later sleep and meal times, increased energy intake, and even smoking. Longer naps were also more likely to be taken lying down in bed rather than on a sofa. However, those who took siestas for less than 30 minutes a day did not have an increased risk of obesity or metabolic health problems. Short naps were even found to be beneficial in reducing systolic blood pressure.

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