As a kid you hated it, but as an adult you sometimes long for it. Now, research says you should do it.
“It” is taking an afternoon nap.
Researchers found that for every hour a person naps in the afternoon, their average Systolic blood pressure decreased by 3 mm Hg. Systolic blood pressure is the first number and measures the pressure in your blood vessels when your heart beats. So, if your blood pressure is 120 over 80, your systolic blood pressure would be 120.
“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,” said Manolis Kallistratos, a cardiologist at the Asklepieion General Hospital in Voula, Greece, and one of the study’s authors. “Napping can be easily adopted and typically doesn’t cost anything.”
The study involved 212 people. One in four of those surveyed was a smoker and/or had Type 2 diabetes. Participants were fitted with ambulatory monitors to track blood pressure throughout the day rather than one reading at a clinic.
Overall, average systolic blood pressure was 5.3 mm Hg lower among those who napped compared with those who didn’t.
“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.