- Reviewed by Howard E. LeWine, MD, Chief Medical Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
The health benefits of taking afternoon naps are well documented. They can improve mood, reduce fatigue, and increase alertness. But how long should they last? A study in the May 2023 issue of Obesity suggested the ideal duration is less than 30 minutes.
The observational study included 3,275 healthy adults. Baseline health measurements were taken, and participants completed a questionnaire on their napping habits and other lifestyle factors like diet and sleep. The results found that compared with people who did not nap, those who took midday naps lasting 30 minutes or longer had a higher body mass index and levels of cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure. By contrast, those who had shorter naps (less than 30 minutes) did not share these risks and were even less likely to have elevated blood pressure than those who never napped.
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About the Author
Matthew Solan, Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch
About the Reviewer
Howard E. LeWine, MD, Chief Medical Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
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