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Regular Naps Lower Blood Pressure

Short afternoon naps, similar to siestas, can significantly reduce blood pressure.

Researchers in the UK have found that taking a nap – bit for no longer than one hour - can lower your blood pressure, despite earlier research claiming Mediterranean style siestas could increase the risk of a heart attack.

Nine healthy volunteers, who did not take regular naps, took part in a laboratory experiment carried out by the Liverpool John Moores University. Candidates were monitored for their blood pressure, heart rate and dilation of blood vessels while they attended several afternoon nap sessions.

Researchers identified three phases of the afternoon rest periods.

  • Phase one: A five-minute period relaxing, remaining fully conscious.
  • Phase two: Loss of some conscious awareness of the external environment and volunteers are close to falling asleep.
  • Phase three: Conscious awareness of the external environment disappears. Candidates fall asleep.

The study claims that blood pressure and heart rate decreases during sleep and occurs most during the second phase of resting periods, when volunteers are just about to fall asleep. The lower blood pressure and heart rate, which occurs when sleeping, reduces strain on the heart and can reduce the risk of heart failure.

An earlier epidemiological study of 23,000 people in Greece found that those who took regular siestas reduce the risk of heart failure by 37 per cent, while those who took short naps occasionally reduce the risk by 12 per cent.

Other studies have shown that not getting enough sleep, something which is common among British workers, is known to increase your risk of being overweight and developing high blood pressure, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Read more - Is Your Lifestyle Wrecking Your Body?


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