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New Study Says Some People Are Born To Nap

New Study Says Some People Are Born To Nap

A new study has shown some people have a biological marker that makes them more likely to need a nap during the day.

Hannah Blackiston

Hannah Blackiston

For those of you reading this with a coffee firmly glued to your hand, I have great news: some of us are born to nap.

New research from the scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) shows some of us need more sleep than others and some of us are just straight up born to nap.

So you can blame your biology for the 3pm slump.

Dr Hassan Dashti said: "Napping is somewhat controversial. It was important to try to disentangle the biological pathways that contribute to why we nap."

Genetic information from 452,633 people was analysed by researchers, while participants were asked how often they napped during the day out of three choices - never/rarely, sometimes or usually.

Some of the group wore an activity monitor or accelerometer to make sure they reported their snoozing accurately.

Imagine someone analysing your data during a big weekend, 'looks like she was out until 3am and spent the entire next day in bed'.

I don't need that judgement in my life.

The data showed 123 regions in the human genome that were associated with napping, most of which had already been associated with sleepy people.

But looking deeper, the scientists found three potential napping mechanisms.

The first two, 'disrupted sleep' and 'early morning awakening' reflected people who napped because they didn't have enough sleep throughout the night or woke up too early.

But the others, Dr Dashti says, just straight up needed more sleep, known as sleep propensity.

Dr Dashti said: "This tells us that daytime napping is biologically driven and not just an environmental or behavioural choice."

Some of the genetic traits associated with napping were linked to other health concerns, including high blood pressure, but several other napping gene variants were linked to orexin, a neuropeptide linked to wakefulness.

Anna Berkut / Alamy Stock Photo
Anna Berkut / Alamy Stock Photo

Co-author graduate student Iyas Daghlas from Harvard Medical School said: "This pathway is known to be involved in rare sleep disorders like narcolepsy, but our findings show that smaller perturbations in the pathway can explain why some people nap more than others."

The study showed that a good arvo nap is a great way to revitalise yourself after a disrupted night of sleep or after getting up too early in the morning, so you no longer need to feel guilty about grabbing 25 minutes of shut eye when you start flagging.

The scientists are still working on the correlation between needing naps and health issues, but one thing is for sure, you've now got a fabulous new excuse when someone gives catches you sleeping at your desk.

Featured Image Credit: Svitlana Hulko / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: News, Sleep