If you’ve always felt a little guilty about taking a short snooze during the day, this news may make you feel better; a new study has found that naps can actually be good for your health.
Research by Asklepieion General Hospital in Voula, Greece, suggests that taking a sleep during the day can actually lower blood pressure and have a similar effect on blood pressure levels as taking medication or cutting down on salt and alcohol.
‘Midday sleep appears to lower blood pressure levels at the same magnitude as other lifestyle changes,’ found Dr. Manolis Kallistratos, a cardiologist at Asklepieion General Hospital in Voula, Greece.
The study used 212 participants, all of whom had high blood pressure. Blood pressure monitors were attached to each participant, and their readings were taken throughout the day. Those who napped for one hour per day experienced an average drop of 3mm Hg in blood pressure, compared to those who did not nap.
On average, researchers found that taking a nap can reduce overall blood pressure by 5 mm Hg. In comparison, taking a low-dose blood pressure drug lowers your level an average of 5 to 7 mm Hg.
So what exactly do these numbers mean? While they sound insignificant, a drop of 5 to 7 mm Hg can actually drastically improve health:
‘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,’ explained Dr. Kallistratos.
From this study, the researchers came to the conclusion that taking a nap would be advisable if you suffer from high blood pressure. ‘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,’ he added.
It’s official: naps are back on the table again.