Few things in life are as great as a good, solid nap. Naps are not always easy to get in during a hectic day, but new research is suggesting that making the time to nap might just save your life.
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Researchers at Asklepieion Voula General Hospital in Athens found that people that took a noon-time nap had lower blood pressure. The study, which was presented at the European Society of Cardiology annual conference in London, included assessments of almost 400 people with an average age of 61 who all had high blood pressure.
The average difference in blood pressure between the nappers and non-nappers was only around 5%, but that small decrease is enough to prevent heart attacks. Any minor decrease in blood pressure has been shown to reduce the chance of cardiovascular events by as much as 10%
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Lead researcher and cardiologist, Dr. Manolis Kallistratos said, “Our study shows that not only is midday sleep associated with lower blood pressure, but longer sleeps are even more beneficial. Midday sleepers had greater dips in blood pressure while sleeping at night which is associated with better health outcomes. We also found that hypertensive patients who slept at noon were under fewer antihypertensive medications compared to those who didn’t sleep midday.”
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Kallistratos also acknowledged the fact that no everyone can take a midday nap because of their working conditions. “Μidday sleep is a habit that nowadays is almost a privileged due to a nine to five working culture and intense daily routine,” he said. He also pointed out that history has shown us the value of a good nap, “Two influential UK Prime Ministers were supporters of the midday nap. Winston Churchill said that we must sleep sometime between lunch and dinner while Margaret Thatcher didn’t want to be disturbed at around 3:00 pm. According to our study, they were right because midday naps seem to lower blood pressure levels and may probably also decrease the number of required antihypertensive medications.”
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SO the next time you are having a rough day, maybe it’s time for a nap? If anyone asks you why you are sleeping under your desk, just tell them you are saving your life.