Did you know that daily midday naps are linked to lower blood pressure levels and may also help ward off several cardiovascular diseases?
The research findings that were presented at the European Society of Cardiology during an annual conference in London revealed the findings. After adjusting for other factors that could influence blood pressure such as age, gender, BMI, smoking status, salt, alcohol, exercise and coffee, the researchers found that midday sleepers had 5% lower average 24-hour ambulatory systolic blood pressure (6 mmHg) compared to patients who did not sleep at all during the day. A small decrease in blood pressure can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
What are the other benefits of napping?
A study at NASA on sleepy military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness by 100%. Other studies from UC Berkeley, Harvard University and the University of Athens in Greece also found that midday naps can boost brain power, improve mental health, and reduce the risk of death from heart disease in men.
How long should I nap?
Michael J. Breus, Ph.D suggests that naps should only be between 10 and 20 minutes or 90 minutes long. “This is because you want to either wake up before you enter deep sleep (under 25 minutes) or you want to cycle all the way back to lightwave sleep (90 minutes) to wake up feeling energized and more focused,” he said.
When should I take a nap?
Dr. Breus suggests that the best time to nap is typically seven hours after waking up in the morning. However, make sure that your nap is not too late in the afternoon, so that it doesn't affect your nighttime sleep pattern.
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