NEW study results have shown that middle-aged and older adults who sleep less than 6 hours per day and take longer midday naps are at a higher risk of developing hypertension and cardiovascular diseases (CVD).
Discussing the rationale behind the study, lead author Ling Lin, Department of Emergency Nursing at Fujian Medical University Union Hospital, Fuzhou, China, and colleagues, noted that “siesta is a prevalent lifestyle in many countries, including China.” Lin and colleagues also wrote that “too long siesta may decrease the sleep duration at night and affect the total sleep duration of people, indicating that the percentage of siesta in the total sleep duration may be associated with the risk of hypertension or CVD. Whether the ratio of siesta duration in the total sleep duration was associated with the occurrence of hypertension or CVD was still unclear.”
The researchers analysed data from 7,604 middle-aged and older adults without hypertension or CVDs and sleep data from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) database. Participants were followed up for 3 years using questionnaires and follow-up was discontinued when an outcome event was observed. The median follow-up was 6.5 years.
After 3 years, 2,075 participants had hypertension and 986 people had CVDs. A total sleep duration of less than 6 hours and a siesta ratio of at least 0.4 were associated with an increased risk of hypertension in middle-aged and older adults.
Among males aged 60 years and older, a siesta ratio of at least 0.4 was linked with a higher risk of hypertension, whereas a total sleep duration of less than 6 hours was correlated with an elevated risk of hypertension in males under 60 years.
In females aged 60 years and older, a sleep duration of less than 6 hours at night was associated with an increased risk of CVDs. In females under 60 years, an increased risk of CVD was observed in those with a siesta duration of less than 30 minutes and a sleep duration of less than 6 hours at night.
Summarising the wider relevance of their findings, the researchers noted that they might provide a reference for midday napping and total sleep duration in people aged 45 years and older. A longer sleep at night versus midday napping might be recommended.