Epidemiologic studies have reported conflicting results on the relationship between daytime napping and mortality risk, and there are few data on the potential association in the British population. We investigated the associations between daytime napping and all-cause or cause-specific mortality in the European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer-Norfolk study, a British population-based cohort study. Among the 16,374 men and women who answered questions on napping habits between 1998 and 2000, a total of 3,251 died during the 13-year follow-up. Daytime napping was associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality (for napping less than 1 hour per day on average, hazard ratio = 1.14, 95% confidence interval: 1.02, 1.27; for napping 1 hour or longer per day on average, hazard ratio = 1.32, 95% confidence interval: 1.04, 1.68), independent of age, sex, social class, educational level, marital status, employment status, body mass index, physical activity level, smoking status, alcohol intake, depression, self-reported general health, use of hypnotic drugs or other medications, time spent in bed at night, and presence of preexisting health conditions. This association was more pronounced for death from respiratory diseases (for napping less than 1 hour, hazard ratio = 1.40, 95% confidence interval: 0.95, 2.05; for napping 1 hour or more, hazard ratio = 2.56, 95% confidence interval: 1.34, 4.86) and in individuals 65 years of age or younger. Excessive daytime napping might be a useful marker of underlying health risk, particularly of respiratory problems, especially among those 65 years of age or younger. Further research is required to clarify the nature of the observed association.
Keywords: aging; mortality; napping; respiratory; siesta; sleep; survival analysis.