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Could Your Afternoon Nap Signal a Health Problem?

May 8, 2014

nohcblog-napClosing your eyes for a quick afternoon nap can feel all too tempting some days. However, if you’re a woman who frequently experiences daytime sleepiness, your heavy eyelids might be symptomatic of something more serious.

A recent study completed at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University collected data from more than 84,000 women in the United States to draw their conclusion. The information was collected from information provided for the Nurses Health Study II from 2001-2009.

Five percent of the total group reported being sleepy during the day on an almost daily basis. The study found the women in this group were almost three times as likely to be diagnosed with heart disease as the women in the study who did not report frequent daytime sleepiness.

However, the connection between sleepiness and heart problems might be more symptomatic than the initial results of the study suggested. Daytime drowsiness is more likely to be a side effect of a poor night sleep, which can lead to higher blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes or depression. This suggests that the connection between desiring an afternoon nap and having a higher risk of heart disease is more circumstantial based on the quality of sleep experienced the night before.

So, what are some things you can do to improve your sleep habits? Here are a few quick tips.
 

3 Quick Tips for Getting a Better Night’s Sleep

  1. Wind down. Avoid electronics and anything with a screen during the 30 minutes to an hour leading up to bed time.
  2. Exercise. Keeping your body in better physical shape—and worn out from working hard!—can help you get a more restful night’s sleep.
  3. Be consistent. Train your body for a certain time frame of sleep by going to bed and waking up at around the same time every day.

The bottom line? Your body needs sleep to function. Prolonged lack of sleep can lead to significant health problems that simply taking a quick afternoon power nap won’t be able to fix. If you’re concerned about your quality of sleep and what it might mean for your health, you should schedule an appointment to speak to your doctor.

For more tips on how to get a better night’s sleep, click here and download our free eBook.