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Editor's Correspondence
March 13, 2000

Is Taking a Siesta Really a Health Hazard?

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Copyright 2000 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2000

Arch Intern Med. 2000;160(5):711. doi:

I read with interest the article by Michael Bursztyn et al1 regarding siesta in the elderly. If the results are reproduced, taking a siesta may soon have to come with its own health warning.

This study has interesting implications. First, mid-afternoon rest periods are a common feature in many hospital wards across this country. Should this practice be discouraged? Second, Bursztyn et al suggest changes in hemodynamic and thrombogenic factors associated with awakening as a cause of this increased mortality. If this is so, what about the other activities of daily living that cause similar physiological changes? Kneeling for prayer, for instance, can lead to changes in pulse and blood pressure. Although religion was not included in the analysis, it would be interesting to note if there were any differences between people of different faiths.

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