New research has found that a nap a day could save your life!
Research from Asklepieion Voula General Hospital in Athens, has found that a daily nap could reduce blood pressure and prevent future heart attacks.
The research involving almost 400 middle-aged men and women, found that those who had a nap at noon later had lower blood pressure, than those who stayed awake throughout the day.
For the study, researchers assessed 200 men and 186 women, with an average age of 61 and high blood pressure, some of who took regular naps.
The findings were presented at the European Society and Cardiology annual conference in London and showed that those who snoozed at noon had blood pressure measurements on average five per cent lower than those who did not nap. Longer naps of up to an hour achieved the best results.
Researchers said that around 5 per cent was enough to have a significant impact on rates of heart attack.
According to cardiologists far smaller reductions have been found to reduce the chance of cardiovascular events by 10 per cent.
Lead researcher and cardiologist, Dr Manolis Kallistratos told The Telegraph, the study showed that “midday naps seem to lower blood pressure levels and may probably also decrease the number of required antihypertensive medications.”
But, it’s these days it’s hard for people to squeeze in a nap during the day.
“Midday sleep is a habit that nowadays is almost a privileged due to a nine to five working culture and intense daily routine,” Dr Kallistratos said.
The research found that overall, the average systolic blood pressure readings of the regular nappers were four per cent lower than the non-nappers when they were awake (5 mmHg) and 6 per cent lower while they slept at night (7 mmHg).
When your heart is healthy, your blood pressure should drop at night.
Those who achieved a significant drop in pressure when sleeping, had on average 17 minutes more mid-day sleep than those for whom findings remained constant.
The research also found that nappers had pulse wave velocity levels 11 per cent lower than those who stayed awake, while their left atrium diameters – which expand with age – were smaller in the napping group.
“These findings suggest that midday sleepers have less damage from high blood pressure in their arteries and heart,” Dr Kallistratos said.
“Midday sleepers had greater dips in blood pressure while sleeping at night which is associated with better health outcomes.”
“Not only is midday sleep associated with lower blood pressure, but longer sleeps are even more beneficial.”
The study was adjusted for other factors that could influence blood pressure, such as age, gender, body mass index, smoking status, salt, alcohol, exercise and coffee drinking.
Maybe we should all start taking more naps? What do you think?