If you’re the kind of person who loves an afternoon nap, I’ve got some great news for you. They’re actualy good for your health. So much so, that a nap is said to be as effective as drugs when it comes to lowering blood pressure.
According to the research, which is a great use of time (let’s be honest) an hour’s sleep at midday reduces blood pressure by an average of five points which is similar to the effects of taking drugs or cutting salt from your diet completely.
Plus, it can reduce your chance of having a heart attack significantly.
Greek doctors at Asklepieion General Hospital in Voula followed 212 people with an average systolic blood pressure of 130mm/HG, which is considered to be verging on being unhealthy.
The experts’ findings are due to be presented at the American College of Cardiology’s annual conference in New Orleans later this month after the results were so positive.
Researcher Dr Manolis Kallistratos said: “Midday sleep appears to lower blood pressure levels at the same magnitude as other lifestyle changes.
“For example, salt and alcohol reduction can bring blood pressure levels down by 3 to 5 mm/Hg.
“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 per cent.
“Based on our findings, 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. The higher the blood pressure levels, the more pronounced any effort to lower it will appear.
“By including people with relatively well-controlled blood pressure, we can feel more confident that any significant differences in blood pressure readings are likely due to napping.”
He added: “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.
“Even though both groups were receiving the same number of medications and blood pressure was well controlled, there was still a significant decrease in blood pressure among those who slept during midday.”