Your parent’s afternoon siesta can be injurious to their health, if this study is to be believed

Daytime naps might be seen as a casual act of leisure, but recent research suggests that it could lead to major risks for the elderly.
insomnia and depression
Irregular sleeping pattern can be bad for your parents. Image courtesy : Shutterstock
ANI Updated: 13 Oct 2023, 14:58 pm IST
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Do you often notice your parents doze off during the day? If this is true, it is important to become aware that they run at a high risk of developing new medical conditions, including diabetes, cancer and high blood pressure.

According to a preliminary study presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 72nd Annual Meeting in Toronto, older people who experience daytime sleepiness are at the risk of developing new medical conditions. .

Do you remember the classic statement, excess of anything is bad? So, the ‘bad’ consequence of daytime snoozing is hypersomnolence.

What is hypersomnolence?
It is a condition where a person experiences significant episodes of sleepiness, even after having seven hours or more of quality sleep. Prevalence of such a condition can affect the way people perform at work or in other daily activities.

“Paying attention to sleepiness in older adults could help doctors predict and prevent future medical conditions,” said study author Maurice M. Ohayon, M.D., Ph.D., DSc, of Stanford University in Stanford, Calif, and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

“Older adults and their family members may want to take a closer look at sleeping habits to understand the potential risk for developing a more serious medical condition,” Ohayon added.

This is the correlation between excessive sleep and developing diseases
For the detailed study, the researchers took the data of 10,930 people in a separate two phone call interviews. About 34% of participants were 65 years or older.

The study found that people who reported sleepiness had a 2.3 times greater risk of developing diabetes or high blood pressure three years later than those who did not experience sleepiness.

The results remained the same after researchers adjusted for other factors that could affect daytime sleepiness, such as  sleep apnea ( a sleeping disorder in which breathing repeatedly starts and stops) and poor heart health.

heart disease and sleepiness
Pay attention to your parent’s sleep pattern ladies, because their heart health could be at stake! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

After two seperate phone call interviews, those who reported daytime sleepiness during both interviews had a 2.5 times greater risk of developing heart disease.

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Alternatively, people who reported sleepiness only in the second interview were 50% more likely to also have diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue, such as arthritis, tendonitis and lupus, untreatable lung disease than those who did not have daytime sleepiness.

Turns out! Even with a varying frequency of daytime sleeping, the depreciating impact on our parents or grandparent’s health can’t be lightly brushed off. Can you hear the warning bells ringing? It is time we take a closer look at their daily sleeping habits and report anything out of the ordinary to their physician.  

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