Science

Napping each day keeps high blood pressure away

By Makenzie Katz

In recent research presented by the American College of Cardiology at their 68th Annual Scientific Session, it has been determined that taking part in the daily, Spanish siesta seems to positively impact your blood pressure.

Manolis Kallistratos, MD, cardiologist at Asklepieion General Hospital in Voula, Greece and a co-author of this investigation, stated: “Midday sleep appears to lower blood pressure levels at the same magnitude as other lifestyle changes” and followed this with the example of “salt and alcohol reduction [which] can bring blood pressure levels down by 3 to 5 mm Hg.”

It has been ascertained that taking a nap during the day results in a 5 mm Hg drop on average in blood pressure, and for every 60 minutes taken for an afternoon snooze the 24-hour systolic blood pressure would then decrease by 3 mm Hg. Kallistratos further explains the necessity of taking a nap by stating that: “These findings are important because a drop in blood pressure as small as 2 mm Hg can reduce the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack by up to 10 percent.” She has also determined that “if someone has the luxury to take a nap during the day, it may also have benefits for high blood pressure. Napping can be easily adopted and typically doesn’t cost anything.”

This investigation is the first of its kind to prospectively assess the impact of an afternoon’s rest. It involved 212 participants with a collective average of 129.9 mm Hg as their median blood pressure. They were all roughly 62 years old and the margin was just over half female. The researchers involved assessed and recorded the participant’s blood pressure for 24 hours sequentially, including midday sleep length (an average of 49 minutes), lifestyle routine (workout methods/levels, alcohol consumption, coffee, and salt intake), and pulse wave velocity.

The members of the study were made to wear an ambulatory blood pressure monitor which was used to follow blood pressure rates at certain intervals throughout the day. Based on this data collection, people who made time to rest during the day had improved blood pressure readings. Kallistratos concludes with the statement, “We obviously don’t want to encourage people to sleep for hours on end during the day, but on the other hand, they shouldn’t feel guilty if they can take a short nap, given the potential health benefits.”

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