There is controversy regarding the effect of napping on cardiovascular disease (CVD), with most studies failing to consider napping frequency. We aimed to assess the relationship of napping frequency and average nap duration with fatal and non-fatal CVD events.
3462 subjects of a Swiss population based cohort with no previous history of CVD reported their nap frequency and daily nap duration over a week, and were followed over 5.3 years. Fatal and non-fatal CVD events were adjudicated. Cox regressions were performed to obtain HRs adjusted for major cardiovascular risk factors and excessive daytime sleepiness or obstructive sleep apnoea.
155 fatal and non-fatal events occurred. We observed a significantly lower risk for subjects napping 1–2 times weekly for developing a CVD event (HR 0.52, 95% CI 0.28 to 0.95) compared with non-napping subjects, in unadjusted as well as adjusted models. The increased HR (1.67, 95% CI 1.10 to 2.55) for subjects napping 6–7 times weekly disappeared in adjusted models (HR 0.89, 95% CI 0.58 to 1.38). Neither obstructive sleep apnoea nor excessive daytime sleepiness modified this lower risk. No association was found between nap duration and CVD events.
Subjects who nap once or twice per week have a lower risk of incident CVD events, while no association was found for more frequent napping or napping duration. Nap frequency may help explain the discrepant findings regarding the association between napping and CVD events.