One of the possible causes of being overweight can be the afternoon nap, especially if it lasts longer than 30 minutes. This emerges from a very recent scientific research that appeared in the journal Obesity and performed by a Mexican team (Vizmanos et al, Obesity, April 2023). So let's try to understand what exactly this very interesting study says.
Obesity and napping, a possible link?
Obesity is a risk factor for various diseases, both physical, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cellular degeneration, and mental, such as depression. Hence the importance of fighting overweight. The study we are talking about today focuses on the afternoon nap, a very common practice, above all to recover concentration and energy after a night that may not be very restful. In particular, Mexican scientists sought to understand the effects of afternoon naps on parameters indicating general health status, such as body mass index, waist size, blood pressure and blood sugar. Let's see what emerged.
Beware if the nap is too long, the study
The researchers were based on data regarding the health and lifestyle of 3275 adults, all healthy but obese, participants in a large study called Obesity, Nutrigenetics, TIming, and MEditerranean [ ONTIME] Study. Comparing the data showed that the duration of the nap can make a difference when it comes to health. In fact, taking long naps, lasting more than 30 minutes, was associated with higher values of body mass index, waist circumference, fasting blood glucose and blood pressure and with an increased risk of metabolic syndrome compared to those who did not the afternoon nap. However, the nap is not to be demonized. In fact, if of short duration, i.e. less than 30 minutes, it is associated with a lower risk of developing hypertension than those who do not nap.
A long-lasting afternoon nap, longer than 30 minutes, can therefore increase the risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome and an increase in waist circumference. It is believed that sleeping too long during the day leads to an alteration of the circadian rhythm which in turn can modify the body's metabolism. Therefore, if you don't want to give up your afternoon nap to recharge your batteries, it may be a good choice to prefer a shorter nap, in order to counteract obesity, keep blood sugar and blood pressure under control and thus also save your heart.