DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — We all could use a nap occasionally, but napping too much could be a sign of poor sleep quality at night.

“If you don’t get adequate sleep, it pretty much worsens every other health condition you can think of,” said Duke Health neurologist and sleep expert Dr. Sujay Kansagra.

A new study published in Hypertension, an American Heart Association journal, finds those who nap frequently during the day had a 12% higher risk of developing high blood pressure and a 24% higher risk of having a stroke, compared to those who never nap.

Those under age 60 who nap often had a 20% higher risk of developing high blood pressure.

“We think the real answer here is naps are probably a sign of another health-related issue,” Kansagra said. “It’s not the naps themselves that are dangerous for you. It’s that if you’re napping, you’re probably more likely to have for example insomnia at night or sleep apnea at nighttime or perhaps other health conditions that make you sleepy during the day.”

The American Heart Association says getting enough sleep is now considered an essential component for ideal heart and brain health.

“It’s very common for people to focus on diet and exercise when it comes to great health, but sleep really is that third pillar of great health,” Kansagra said. 

The average adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep to feel fully refreshed the next day and more for children depending on age. 

“Talk to your doctor is the bottom line. if you have a problem with the quantity or quality of your sleep, your doctor can help you,” said Kansagra.

If you need a quick energy boost, Kansagra says aim for a 20-to-30-minute nap that way you don’t get into deep sleep.

Follow Dr. Sujay Kansagra on Twitter for more sleep advice.