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Naptime for Your Heart

2016 0101 Naptime for Heart
Midday Naps May Benefit People with Hypertension 

Still exhausted from the hustle and bustle of the holidays? Reset and recharge this month, and squeeze in a nap if you can! According to 2015 research, a midday nap may help lower blood pressure and be beneficial to your heart.

Researchers from Greece studied 386 patients with hypertension, recording their ambulatory systolic blood pressure levels over 24-hours (the gold standard of blood pressure monitoring), minutes of midday sleep time, EKG results, and other lifestyle habits. Compared with those who did not take a midday nap, people who napped had 5% lower average systolic blood pressures (6 mm Hg). Though this may seem small, Dr. Kalliastratos, the lead researcher on the team, points out that “reductions as small as 2 mm Hg in systolic blood pressure can reduce the risk of cardiovascular events by up to 10%.”

Results also showed those who napped had healthier cardiovascular measures in their EKGs—11% lower velocity levels and 5% smaller left atrium diameter. Both of these markers note less heart damage from high blood pressure in the people who napped. Everyone who napped was better off than those who skipped out and the longer the nap, the greater the benefit.

Though you may not be able to schedule naptime on your calendar at work, use the weekends to channel your inner kindergartner and take a midday snooze. Be sure to set a regular bedtime too—sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain, fatigue and irritability, and has also been linked to increased risk of mortality. Time to rest!

Published January 1, 2016

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