What You Don't Know About Your Afternoon Nap

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BeautyStock_012714_0810Photographed By Amelia Alpaugh.
I never understood the whole "nap" thing. Try as I might, and no matter how tired I am, turning off my ever-churning brain is almost impossible — especially when there are perfectly good daylight hours to be spent doing something more fun productive. Of course, I know I'm in the minority. I work in an office full of people who would kill for a workday nap-time situation.

But, it turns out, all the nappers out there might have reason to reconsider sneaking those daylight winks. Researchers at the University of Cambridge found that participants who regularly took daytime naps were more likely to die over the course of a 13-year study.

The researchers interviewed 16,374 British subjects aged 40 to 70 on their sleeping habits and followed up over 13 years. They found that subjects who took afternoon naps lasting under an hour on average were 14% more likely to die during the study than those who didn't, particularly from respiratory diseases. Nappers who got in over an hour of daytime sleep every day were even worse off: they were 32% more likely to die than their non-napping peers. The researchers found that the results held up even after controlling for a wide range of risk factors, including age, BMI, gender, exercise, smoking habits, and even medical conditions, like cancer and diabetes.

Does this mean saying goodbye to your precious shuteye sessions? Maybe not. This particular study only tested subjects aged 40 to 70, so a lot more research is needed to see whether its findings apply to other age groups as well. Also, there's a big difference between proving that naps are correlated with increased risk of death and actually finding that naps cause death. But, if causation can be pinpointed, it'll give a whole new meaning to "sleep when you're dead." (Live Science)