Research done in Switzerland suggests an occasional daytime nap could dramatically reduce the risk of a heart attack.
The study, conducted by Nadine Häusler of the Department of Medicine at the University Hospital of Lausanne, followed 3,462 people in Lausanne aged from 35 to 75 for 5 years, according to the American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC).
Those who took a siesta once or twice a week were 48% less likely to suffer a heart attack.
However, it appears it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Those napping more often faced almost the same risk of a heart attack as those who didn’t nap at all. Those taking 3 to 5 naps weekly were only 12% less likely to have a heart attack and those napping 6 or 7 times a week were 11% less likely to have one.
While experts warned that it is premature to draw any conclusions from this research on siestas (correlation does not prove causation) other studies have linked insufficient sleep to cardiovascular disease.
The Whitehall II Study published in 2007 examined the sleep patterns of more than 10,000 British civil servants over 20 years. Those who had their sleep cut from seven to five hours a night almost doubled their risk of death from all causes and doubled their risk of cardiovascular disease.
AJMC article (in English)