Taking a nap once or twice a week could help save your life, according to new research.
A Swiss study of 3,462 people aged between 35 and 75 found that short additional sleeps cut the risk of heart attack and stroke by almost half.
The research, published in the journal Heart, followed the group for an average of five years and asked them to record how many naps they took.
Of the people being studied, 58% did not nap, about one in five (19%) had taken one to two naps during the previous week, and about one in 10 (12%) had taken three to five. Some 11% took six to seven naps per week.
Over the five-year follow-up, there were 155 cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke.
Napping once or twice a week was linked with a 48% reduced risk of an event, even when other factors were taken into account.
No other associations were found.
Vanessa Smith, senior cardiac nurse for the British Heart Foundation, said: “Many of us might aim to grab an extra 40 winks here and there, but more evidence is needed before we can say that regular napping can help to reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
“However, there are many other lifestyle changes you can make which we know help to keep your heart and blood vessels healthy.
“Doing 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week and eating a healthy Mediterranean-based diet can reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
“We also know that treating high blood pressure and managing your cholesterol can reduce your risk of life-threatening heart and circulatory diseases.”
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