- New research shows that midday napping could reduce blood pressure, just as significantly as other lifestyle changes.
- The research team reached these findings by analyzing 212 participants: half of whom napped during the day, and the other half of whom did not nap.
- After adjusting for factors known to affect blood pressure levels (like age and gender), the researchers found that those who napped had a lower blood pressure.
- This research suggests that taking an hour or so out of your day to nap can come with important health benefits.
- However, researchers note that there is a need for further research into this area to better understand the link between napping and blood pressure levels.
A new study “Mid-day sleep effects as potent as recommended lifestyle changes in patients with arterial hypertension,” from the American College of Cardiology, says that midday naps are good for more than just upping energy and boosting mood. This study found that people who nap during the day are more likely to experience a drop in blood pressure. Researchers say these reduced levels were similar to those brought on by other lifestyle changes, such as exercise.
This research team sought to analyze how midday sleep might affect blood pressure in those who have reasonable blood pressure levels. These researchers found previously that midday napping is associated with reduced blood pressure and less antihypertensive medicine being prescribed to those with high blood pressure.
To reach these findings, the study assessed 212 participants who had a mean blood pressure of 129.9 mm Hg. These individuals were, on average, 62 years old and just about evenly split between male and female. Additionally, 25% of the participants were smokers and/or had type 2 diabetes. The research team divided these participants into two groups: one group napped during the day and the other did not. Over the course of the 24 hours, researchers tracked blood pressure, midday sleep time (for the first group), and lifestyle (like caffeine consumption and exercise). They then adjusted for factors known to affect blood pressure levels such as age, gender, lifestyle, and medication.
Results showed that blood pressure was 5.3 mm Hg lower in the group that napped. Researchers say this appeared to be a direct effect of napping, and how much time an individual spent napping played a role: for each hour of napping, blood pressure lowered by 3 mm Hg. The team says that while they aren’t recommending people spend their entire days sleeping, we also shouldn’t feel guilty about taking a quick nap. In fact, doing so can come with health benefits like reduce blood pressure levels. High blood pressure is a serious problem for many Americans. Over time, it can increase the risk of developing cardiovascular problems like heart attack. This research proves important, as it suggests that napping could help those with high blood pressure (or those at risk of high blood pressure) to bring their levels down.
- This study notes that further research into the effects of midday napping on blood pressure is needed.
American College of Cardiology. (2019, March 7). A nap a day keeps high blood pressure at bay: Catching some midday shut-eye linked to similar drops in blood pressure seen with other lifestyle changes, some medications. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 14, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190307081029.htm
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