Woman wearing blue gown lies in bed with her hand resting on a blanket

(HealthDay News) — Daytime napping for more than 30 minutes is significantly associated with the risk for developing atrial fibrillation (AF), according to a study presented at the annual congress of the European Association of Preventive Cardiology, held from April 13 to 15 in Malaga, Spain.

Jesus Diaz-Gutierrez, M.D., of the Juan Ramon Jimenez University Hospital in Huelva, Spain, and colleagues examined the association between daytime napping and the incidence of AF. The analysis included 20,348 participants, free of AF at baseline, who were followed for a median time of 13.8 years.

The researchers found that compared with participants with short daytime napping (<30 minutes/day), those who slept ≥30 minutes/day exhibited a significant increased risk for incident AF (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.90; 95% confidence interval, 1.26 to 2.86). No significant risk was seen for participants who did not nap (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.26; 95% confidence interval, 0.82 to 1.93). In an analysis excluding those who did not nap, those with shorter daytime napping had a lower risk for developing AF, with the greatest risk reduction seen for naps lasting 15 to 30 minutes/day (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.44; 95% confidence interval, 0.27 to 0.72) versus sleeping >30 minutes/day.

“There are numerous potential explanations for the associations between napping and health. Long daytime naps may disrupt the body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm), leading to shorter night-time sleep, more nocturnal awakening, and reduced physical activity,” Diaz-Gutierrez said in a statement. “In contrast, short daytime napping may improve circadian rhythm, lower blood pressure levels, and reduce stress.”

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