A new study investigated by a team of cardiologists has found that aside from taking medications and eating healthy foods, observing a nap at midday can effectively help people lower their blood pressure.
One of the scientists who embarked on this research, Dr Manolis Kallistratos, said due to his present findings at the American College of Cardiology, daytime napping can definitely help boost our energy levels and productivity for the rest of the workday, also 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 [millimeters of mercury (mmHg).
Another study revealed that some investigators worked with 212 participants who had a mean blood pressure of 129.9 mm Hg. A person has high blood pressure if their readings of systolic blood pressure (pressure during a heartbeat) are 140 mm Hg or higher, and their readings of diastolic blood pressure (pressure between heartbeats) are 90 mm Hg or higher.
The participants were, on the average, 62 years old, and close to one in four of them smoked, had a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, or both.
Over 24 consecutive hours, the researchers took note of the participants’ blood pressure measurements, the duration of their midday naps, their general lifestyle choices (such as alcohol consumption and physical activity), and their pulse wave velocity, which measures artery stiffness, The researchers found that people who took a daytime nap saw a 5.3 mm Hg drop in systolic blood pressure, which, the researchers explain, is about as much as someone could expect when taking blood pressure medication or making certain lifestyle changes to lower blood pressure.
Dr Kallistratos explained that taking low doses of specialized drugs can lower a person’s blood pressure levels by about 5–7 mm Hg on average. Moreover, the team added that each additional 60 minutes of napping time reduced average 24-hour systolic blood pressure by 3 mm Hg.
The findings, reported on Medical Life Science, and conducted by researchers from Asklepieion General Hospital in Voula, Greece, revealed that the higher the blood pressure levels, the more pronounced any effort to lower it will appear.
Dr Manolis Kallistratos said “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.”
The researchers noted that this is the first time that anyone has studied the effects of daytime naps on a person’s blood pressure levels. Although the team encourages further research to replicate and validate the current results, its members were confident that their study offers important new information.