Monday 11 March 2019 3:55 AM UTC
LONDON March 11: An afternoon nap is as good as taking tablets for reducing blood pressure, according to a new study. Putting your feet up for a midday kip was on par with taking blood pressure pills, reducing salt in your diet or cutting down on drinking.
Overall, taking a nap during the day was associated with an average 5mm Hg drop in blood pressure. And for every extra hour of shuteye you get, the more your blood pressure drops.
Cardiologists found for every 60 minutes of midday sleep, 24-hour average systolic blood pressure decreased by 3 mm Hg. The new findings add to the benefits of an afternoon snooze which include boosting energy levels and moods.
If untreated high blood pressure increases the risk of both heart attack and stroke. Although it falls outside the scope of the study, Greek researchers said one could speculate that along with the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet, the cultural acceptance of midday napping may also play a role in the healthier profile seen in these populations.
Co-author cardiologist Dr Manolis Kallistratos at the Asklepieion General Hospital in Greece, 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.’ A low-dose antihypertensive medication usually lowers blood pressure levels by 5 to 7 mm Hg, on average, Dr Kallistratos said.
He added: “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 ‘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 study was the first study to prospectively assess midday sleep’s affect on blood pressure levels among people whose blood pressure is reasonably controlled, according to the researchers.
Previous research found midday naps was associated with reduced blood pressure levels and fewer antihypertensive medications being prescribed among people with very high blood pressure readings.
Dr Kallistratos said: ‘The higher the blood pressure levels, the more pronounced any effort to lower it will appear.
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