Scientists have discovered what napping says about us during a recent survey they have conducted. While Mediterranean countries, whose inhabitants often indulge in afternoon siestas, may think this practice is very good for their health, studies show naps can be the consequence of other health affections.
UK researchers have conducted the first research on humans’ sleeping habits in 2013. 16,000 respondents were observed back then for a longer period of time and asked various questions in relation to their sleeping habits.
Based on their responses, scientists have reached the conclusion that naps are not always healthy. It all depends on how much time people take to sleep in the afternoon. According to researchers, individuals who sleep more than 2 or 3 hours in the afternoon can suffer from sleep disruptions at night.
Humans’ sleep usually consists of two distinct phases: the Rapid Eye Movement and the non-Rapid Eye Movement phase. The latter is a much more profound stage, whom nappers rarely experience precisely because they do not lead a healthy lifestyle. Afternoon naps should only last for 20 or 30 minutes. It is the only way that people can feel rested and energized without affecting their nighttime sleep.
Researchers have further noticed that the need to take longer afternoon naps may not only indicate sleep disorders, but other illnesses, as well. Fatigue is often associated with cardiac problems, cancer, depressions and sleep apnea. Consequently, it is extremely important for people to go through a full medical checkup to determine the real cause of their sleep disorders.
Charles Czeisler, chief of the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston has stated that sleep disorders may also appear as a result of a disorganized lifestyle. He suggested people to avoid depriving themselves of sleep during the week.
Patients, who usually do this often feel the need to recover during weekends causing their bodies to go through rough physical changes. Sleeping less than six hours per night may weaken the immune system, whereas a 12-hour night sleep may increase stroke risks. The best solution would be, in Czeisler’s opinion, to maintain constant sleeping habits as much as possible.
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