Why You Shouldn't Take Naps Longer Than 40 Minutes

Today in unfortunate news no one wanted to hear, long naps are apparently bad for your health — in fact, according to a new study on sleep habits, this most beloved of passive activities may be leading us toward an untimely demise. Eesh, talk about a killjoy. I took an hour long siesta with my three-year-old son yesterday, and it was glorious. Or at least I thought it was. Now I'm just wondering how many years that snooze took off my lifespan.

Conducted at the American College of Cardiology, the sleep study found that taking naps longer than 40 minutes puts you at increased risk for all kinds of health problems. To come to this determination, the scientist leading the study, Dr. Tomohide, tracked the sleep patterns of 300,000 people from all over the globe. He found that, of those 300,000 subjects, the ones who took frequent naps longer than 40 minutes in duration elevated their risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure and carrying excess fat around the mid-section. And if you like your naps 90 minutes or longer, the bad news just keeps coming — naps of this length reportedly up the odds of developing type two diabetes by an alarming 50 percent.

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If you're not a long day-napper, you're not out of the wood just yet. According to the study, feeling excessively tired during the day (hello, my life) is also associated with an increased risk for developing metabolic syndrome. Having said all of this, don't lapse into a state of utter despair just yet. While it certainly isn't heartening to hear the findings on the link between long naps/excessive fatigue and major health concerns, no one is saying you have to ban napping altogether. Subjects who napped for less than 40 minutes showed no increased risk of for metabolic syndrome. Furthermore, the sleep study showed a decrease in the risk of certain conditions when the subjects napped for less than half an hour. Short nappers, rejoice!

So what do you do if you like your naps long or you can't shake a sleep feeling during the daylight hours? Here are a few ideas that won't increase your risk for dire health conditions.

1. Drink Lots of Agua

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Staying hydrated is one of the easiest (and healthiest) ways to naturally energize yourself. Instead of reaching for that afternoon cup of coffee when the 2 p.m. slump strikes, pour yourself a tall glass of water instead — and, actually, if you stay sufficiently hydrated throughout the day, you'll likely find you don't even need to reach for that caffeine in the first place.

2. Get Enough Nighttime Shuteye

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This seems pretty self explanatory, but most of us obviously suck at it. The reality of the matter is we'll always feel chronically tired if we don't get enough zzz's at night (also known as "sleep debt"). But how much is enough? According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults and young adults should aim for at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Not the four I logged last night, merp.

3. Two Words: Power Nap

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Hey, the study did say napping during the day was OK as long as you did it in small increments, right? We'd be remiss not to mention the restorative effects of the power nap. Find somewhere quiet, lay your head down, and set an alarm for 10 to 20 minutes. When you awake, you'll feel re-invigorated and, hooray, might even have lowered your risk of certain metabolic risks.

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