Is Napping Bad For You   

Is Napping Bad For You?

Young woman taking a nap on the couch.
Clinical Contributors to this story:
Stacey Elkhatib Smidt, M.D.
Brett Sealove, M.D., FACC, RPVI

You may love to nap, but a recent study suggests that your heart doesn’t. The study published in the American Heart Association’s AHA Journals shows that poor sleep patterns, such as not getting the right amount of sleep or napping during the day, may increase your risk of high blood pressure and stroke. 

You are more at risk for cardiovascular diseases if you have the following poor sleep patterns or behaviors: 

  • Sleeping for too little or too much time at night (less than seven hours or more than ten hours)
  • Staying up late, often known as being a “night owl” 
  • Frequent or chronic insomnia 
  • Heavy snoring habits
  • Regularly feeling sleepy during the daytime

How long should I be sleeping for?

Shortened periods of sleeping and irregular sleep patterns can be bad for your health. Depending on your age, there are different recommended periods of sleep that should be maintained for optimal health. According to the CDC, the hours of sleep for each age group are:  

  • Newborns, zero to three months old: 14 to 17 hours 
  • Infants, four to 12 months old: 12 to 16 hours
  • Toddlers, one to two years old: 11 to 14 hours
  • Preschoolers, three to five years old: 10 to 13 hours
  • School Age, six to 12 years old: 9 to 12 hours
  • Teens, 13 to 18 years old: 8 to 10 hours
  • Adults
    • 18 to 60 years old: 7+ hours 
    • 61 to 64 years old: 7 to 9 hours
    • 65 and over: 7 to 8 hours

How can I improve my sleep for my health?

“Sleep hygiene has been proven to play an important role in your overall health,” says sleep medicine expert, Stacey Elkhatib Smidt, M.D. “Having a consistent schedule when you go to sleep and wake up is crucial, and this routine will help you sleep better overall. A lack of sleep can lead to risks like high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke.” 

If your hours of sleep are out of range for your age group, here are some practices noted by the CDC that you can try in order to establish a better sleep routine and schedule: 

  • Get some exercise. Physical activities throughout the day can make it easier to fall asleep at night and have a more fulfilling rest. 
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeine before bedtime. Having these too late in the day can make it harder to fall asleep. 
  • Stop using electronic devices. The lights, notifications and temptations from your TV, phone or computer can be distracting when trying to sleep. 
  • Try to create a routine. Going to sleep at the same time every night and getting up at the same time in the morning can help to ensure you get enough sleep.
  • Improve your sleep environment. Your bedroom should be dark and quiet so that you can fall asleep peacefully and comfortably. 

“Improving your sleep habits is a crucial part of your health. You are more likely to be at risk for cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease and stroke when your sleep is too little or too much,” says Brett Sealove, M.D., chief of Cardiology at Jersey Shore University Medical Center.

Naps take up short periods of your overall sleep time over the course of the day. Daytime sleeping can cause you to have an irregular sleep pattern, which can negatively impact your cardiovascular health over time.

Next Steps & Resources:

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.


Subscribe to get the latest health tips from our expert clinicians delivered weekly to your inbox.

Is Sleep Affecting Your Mental Health?

People who don’t get enough sleep are at increased risk of depression and anxiety. Our expert shares how sleep impacts your mental health.

Sweaty Sleeper? Find Out Why

Our sleep expert shares the most common causes of night sweats and the warning signs for when you should see a doctor.

Four Doctors Share Their Sleep Habits

Up to 80% of women experience the “baby blues”. Maternal fetal medicine expert, Antonia Francis Kim, M.D. shares why this happens and how to get through it.

4 Reasons You Might Be Tired Often

Are you constantly feeling tired and fatigued? Here are possible reasons for that and what you can do to get better rest.

Is Magnesium Good For Relaxation & Sleep?

Blackout curtains, limiting screen time before bed or cutting down on caffeine, there are tons of recommendations for better sleep hygiene to help with a better night’s sleep, but what about magnesium?

When Snoring Is a Sign of a Health Problem

Snoring can be a nuisance to anyone trying to sleep who’s within earshot of a snorer. But snoring may also be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that may increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack or stroke.

We use cookies to improve your experience. Please read our Privacy Policy or click Accept.