Do Afternoon Naps Prevent Heart Attacks and Death?

A new study released by the Harvard School of Public Health suggests that taking afternoon naps reduces the rate of coronary death by 37%. From the Boston Globe:

The scientists tracked more than 23,000 adults, finding that the benefits of napping were most pronounced for working men.

Researchers have long recognized that Mediterranean adults die of heart disease at a rate lower than Americans and Northern Europeans. Diets rich in olive oil and other heart-healthy foods have received some of the credit, but scientists have been intrigued by the potential role of napping.

The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, concluded that napping was more likely than diet or physical activity to lower the incidence of heart attacks and other life-ending heart ailments.

Good enough for us. See you in 30 minutes. —MEGHANN MARCO

Study ties drop in deaths to a little nap after lunch [Boston Globe]


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  1. kimsama says:

    This study is so helplessly confounded by the workers’ lifestyles that it doesn’t mean anything (luckily the Harvard researcher quoted in the Globe article recognizes this and says not to jump to conclusions) You can’t make the mistake of confusing correlation with causation — both napping and lower rates of heart disease could be caused by something else — maybe lazy people have less stress and also nap more at work. So the idea that naps prevent heart attacks and death is just a stupid headline (one that I’m sure many people will uncritically accept…sigh)

    Also, maybe Mediterranean people work less and actually have a good work-life balance compared to Americans. Maybe (sarcasm). I know I’d nap at work if it was allowed, which it very specifically isn’t (even during lunch!). Insane.

    I have no idea why the gov’t thinks our vaunted “productivity” is so great, except that maybe if unhealthy policies and expectations (like no napping, working over lunch, 10+ hr workdays) are in place, fewer people will survive to old age, thus solving the social security problem!

  2. Dustbunny says:

    So is the person in the picture taking a catnap? Maybe the health benefits only kick in there’s a cat involved. Or two.

  3. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    As long as I can get an excuse note to give to my boss.

    “Please excuse Dwayne from work for half an hour so he can take a nap and won’t die from a heart attack.”

    While I’m at it, I’ll ask for a $10 an hour raise too.

    Although I’m thinking that quitting that crappy job altogether and napping for several hours every day would be the ideal cross between getting plenty of sleep and lowering stress levels.

    Here’s something to think about…anyone who has sufficient control over their work environment that they can take a nap every afternoon probably doesn’t have an altogether stressful work environment to begin with.

  4. Tim Matheson says:

    I totally nap every day and am still very stressed out. I work from home and take naps often (when the work is caught up). I don’t know about a heart attack but I have recently started to bald and I am blaming it on stress or my NY hat. Maybe a combination of the two. I don’t know is there any studies on what makes a 25 year old start balding? I don’t want to look like Mr. Burns by the time I hit 30.


    Tim Matheson

  5. hop says:

    i sure hope so

  6. RandomHookup says:

    Thus why the incidence of early death among bloggers is almost nil.