A Good Reason To Take A Nap
Investigators in Greece report that taking a midday nap can work as well as giving up salt and alcohol to bring down high blood pressure. Lead researcher Manolis Kallistratos, M.D., a cardiologist, said the new findings are important because “a drop in blood pressure as small as two millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) can reduce the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack by up to 10 percent.” The study showed that regularly talking a daytime nap was associated with an average five mm Hg drop in blood pressure, which Dr. Kallistratos said was on par with what would be expected from other proven interventions to lower blood pressure. The study was the first to look at the effect of a midday nap on blood pressure levels among people whose hypertension is otherwise reasonably controlled. Earlier research by the same group found that people with very high blood pressure who took midday naps were able to keep their blood pressure in check using fewer drugs than their non-napping peers. Dr. Kallistratos added that if someone has the opportunity to nap during the day, it may have benefits for high blood pressure “and typically doesn’t cost anything”. He also noted that further research is needed to validate the new findings.
My take? This is welcome news for people with high blood pressure who can manage a nap during the day. We know that an afternoon rest boosts attention and productivity. The National Sleep Foundation reports that dozing off for 20 to 30 minutes is the ideal amount of time to sharpen your alertness. Longer naps can leave you feeling groggy and can interfere with sleep at night, although sleep experts say that an hour-long nap can help your memory for facts, places and faces, and a 90-minute nap has been found to boost creativity.
Manolis Kallistratos et al “Mid-day Sleep Effects as Potent as Recommended Lifestyle Changes in Patients with Arterial Hypertension.” Presentation at the American College of Cardiology Annual Scientific Session, March 18, 2019.
Also in this week’s bulletin:
- A Mediterranean Diet Bonus For Runners
- Downside Of Dog Walking
- This week’s recipe: Mediterranean Couscous