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A nap a day could keep high blood pressure away

A nap a day could keep high blood pressure away

A nap a day could keep high blood pressure away

Want a daytime pick-me-up that may also benefit your blood pressure? Take a nap, researchers suggest.

A regular one hour nap can lower blood pressure by almost the same amount as taking medication with the same goal, according to a study by doctors from the Asklepieion General Hospital in Voula, Greece.

“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,” says Dr Manolis Kallistratos, cardiologist at the Asklepieion General Hospital, adding that a low-dose antihypertensive medication usually lowers blood pressure levels by 5 to 7 mm Hg, on average.

For each hour you nap, systolic blood pressure drops an average of 3 mm Hg, the researchers found. Systolic pressure – the top number in a blood pressure reading – is the force of your blood pushing against your arteries when your heart beats. Diastolic pressure – the bottom number – is the force between heart beats.

“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,”  Dr Kallistratos is quoted as saying in reports. 

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,” Dr Kallistratos says. 

This is 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. 

“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,” Kallistratos said. 

Good thing is that napping can be easily adopted, and typically doesn’t cost anything.

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