A recent study finds that people who take a midday nap have better blood-pressure control than those who do not nap. More specifically, participants who slept for an hour after their lunchtime meal had an average systolic blood pressure that was 6mmHG lower than their peers. In addition, nappers tended to use fewer blood-pressure medications.
The study included 386 patients who were being treated for high blood pressure with an average age of 61. The participants also had other cardiovascular risk factors: 27% had diabetes, 31% were smokers, and the majority was generally overweight. However, the people in the midday nap category still saw the drop in blood pressure readings.
Lead study author Dr. Manolis Kallistratos recently presented his research at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) 2015 Congress. He noted, “6mmHg is a small amount, but we have to keep in mind that reductions of 2mmHg may decrease the risk of cardiovascular events by up to 10%.” The researchers hope to do future studies with subjects who have untreated and uncontrolled hypertension as well as with healthy participants to see if the blood pressure decrease is the same.
While it may be hard for full-time workers and those with other daytime responsibilities to take a 60 minute midday nap, catching a few zzzs at lunchtime could benefit us all.
Source: Kallistratos M, Poulimenos L, Karamanou A, et al. Association of mid-day naps occurrence and duration with blood pressure levels in hypertensive patients. A prospective observational study. Journal of Hypertension, 2015 June: doi: 10.1097/01.hjh.0000468209.39013.ca.