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Outside editorial: Study: Napping is great

Posted: Sunday, February 18, 2007

Scientists say we need to wake up to the benefits of a good nap.

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According to a recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, people who napped 30 minutes a day, three times per week, were 37 percent less likely to die of heart disease.

The study, headed by Dimitrios Trichopoulos of the Harvard School of Public Health, was based on a six-year health survey of 23,681 men and women in Greece. Half of those surveyed took regular naps, and after six years, the nappers had a rate of heart disease two-thirds lower than those who stayed awake all day.

Undoubtedly, there are confounding factors that might influence those results. People who take naps might lead less stressful lives in other ways, and thus have healthier hearts. Even so, the study reinforces the general wisdom that reducing stress leads to improved health and that many people with busy lives don't get the sleep they need.

"Why not a nap at work?" said French Health Minister Xavier Bertrand in announcing the plan last month. "It can't be a taboo subject."

Actually, it can. In many workplaces, employees face sanctions or worse if caught snoozing on a back office couch.



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