Smart Siestas: Study Shows Naps Lower High Blood Pressure
Regardless of whether you get to ever take a nap or not, research is showing how daily midday naps are linked to lower blood pressure levels and may also help ward off several cardiovascular diseases.
The research findings that was presented at the European Society of Cardiology during an annual conference in London revealed the findings. After adjusting for other factors that could influence blood pressure such as age, gender, BMI, smoking status, salt, alcohol, exercise and coffee, the researchers found that midday sleepers had 5% lower average 24-hour ambulatory systolic blood pressure (6 mmHg) compared to patients who did not sleep at all midday.
This may not seem like naps are doing much good, however according to the lead researcher Dr. Manolis Kallistratos, this small decrease can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease up to 10%. The study also observed a connection with the longer the snooze, the higher the drop in blood pressure. The best results were derived in cases where sleep time was about an hour long.
Dr. Kallistratos also noted that there were a few limitations in the study that should be addressed for future research in this direction. For example, the study was only observational and it was assumed during the study that it was only midday naps that brought about positive changes. Dr. Kallistratos is confident that the drop in the blood pressure is comparable to the drop that people experience when they sleep at night.
The second issue with the study that Dr. Kallistratos pointed out was the fact that hypertension symptoms in the participants were very well controlled and this might not be true for everyone. He suggests that in the future it will be worthwhile to include participants whose hypertension is not very well-controlled. According to Dr. Kallistratos, this will lead to a greater drop in blood pressure.
Can I Just Rest, Or Do I Really Need To Take A Nap?
Day time naps are much superior to just taking a rest. In the study it observed that the biggest drop in blood pressure kicked in just before reaching the REM phase. This means it takes actual sleep to bring about drop in the blood pressure as observed in the study.
Midday napping is gaining popularity these days among professionals who have the freedom to choose their working time, such as consultants, freelancers and entrepreneurs. The employees working nine to five are burdened with intense daily routines, however maybe if you share this article with your boss he may give everyone a “midday nap” option. Never know if you never ask!
Reader – Do you have high blood pressure? Will you try midday naps?