Napping Can Give Your Heart a Break

February 13, 2007 ( - New research suggests that a nap might be more refreshing than you thought.

In the largest study to date on the health effects of napping, researchers tracked 23,681 healthy Greek adults for an average of about six years, and found that those who napped at least three times weekly for about half an hour had a 37% lower risk of dying from heart attacks or other heart problems than those who did not nap, according to the AP.

The research, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, said that naps might benefit the heart by reducing stress, and jobs – as we all know – are a common source of stress. The researchers factored in diet, exercise, smoking and other habits that affect the heart but still found napping seemed to help.

Most participants were in their 50s, and the strongest evidence was in working men, according to the study. It’s likely that women reap similar benefits from napping, but not enough of them died during the study to be sure, said Dr. Dimitrios Trichopoulos, the study’s senior author and a researcher at Harvard University and the University of Athens Medical School, according to the AP.

Heart problems killed 48 women who were studied, six of them working women, compared with 85 men, including 28 working men.