(HealthDay News) — People taking long naps (siestas) during the day have higher body mass indexes (BMIs) and are more likely to have metabolic syndrome (MetS) than those who do not take naps, according to a study published online April 26 in Obesity.
Barbara Vizmanos, MD, PhD, from University of Guadalajara in Mexico, and colleagues used data from 3,275 adults from a Mediterranean population to assess the link between long and short siesta or no siesta and obesity, and whether siesta traits and/or lifestyle factors mediate the association of siestas with obesity and MetS.
The researchers found that long siestas were associated with higher values of BMI, waist circumference, fasting glucose, systolic blood pressure (SBP), and diastolic blood pressure, as well as with a higher prevalence of MetS (41 percent) compared with no siestas. However, the probability of having elevated SBP was lower in the short-siesta group (21 percent) versus the no-siesta group. The association of long siestas with higher BMI was mediated by smoking more cigarettes per day (percentage of association mediated by smoking, 12 percent). The association was also mediated by delays in nighttime sleep and eating schedules and higher energy intake at the meal preceding siestas. Compared with napping in a sofa or armchair, napping in bed showed a trend to mediate the association between long siestas and higher SBP (by 6 percent).
“This study shows the importance of considering siesta length and raises the question whether short naps may offer unique benefits,” a coauthor said in a statement.