I am looking out the window as I write this installment of Unpopular Science and there is blue sky and warm sun peaking through the window. It makes me want to curl up and take a nap. And after reading this, you might want to take a nap too.
As I was scrolling down the rabbit hole of nerdy videos the internet algorithm has sadly, but correctly, concluded I would enjoy, I was surprised to see someone talking about the connection between naps and heart disease. I had to learn more, so I googled the specific study they were referring to and low and behold, there it was. And now here it is! (Click link below for the study.)
In 2007, Naska, et al. published a study showing that people who took regular naps during the day had a 37% lower risk of fatal heart disease. For a long time we have heard the Mediterranean diet was the cause for better heart health, and that may be true, let’s not throw out that research, but what wasn’t factored into these cross cultural studies was other social norms, like sleep routine. Napping/siesta is a regular routine for most Mediterranean cultures but not the norm in America. So maybe the standard American diet and lack of rest midday are both practices that we should pay attention to. This is also a good time to point out that science can prove many things, and proving one thing doesn’t negate another.
I’m not sure about you, but I think I’m about to take a pretty sweet siesta. My brain will thank me now and my heart will thank me later ;-)
Article link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17296887/