There’s no better medication for reducing your blood pressure than afternoon nap. Taking a nap in the post-meal time slot has the effect of reducing blood pressure as much as it does the medication for hypertension. This is revealed by a study by an international research team led by Greek scientists. We talked about it with Professor Giulio Stefanini, cardiologist at Humanitas.
One hour’s nap is enough to lower the blood pressure.
A one-hour rest is enough to reduce the blood pressure levels by an average of 3 to 5 mmHg, which is similar to the effect of taking medication or reducing salt in the diet; this reduction can lower the risk of heart attack and stroke. The monitoring carried out by a group of doctors of the Asklepieion General Hospital in Voula involved more than 200 people with an average systolic blood pressure of 130 mm/Hg; a level considered unhealthy.
“Midday sleep seems to lower the blood pressure levels with the same intensity as other lifestyle changes,” said Manolis Kallistratos, author of the study. Salt and alcohol reduction can also lower blood pressure levels by 3-5 mm/Hg, while low-dose medication usually lowers blood pressure levels by 5-7 mm/Hg. However, these results are also important because a drop in blood pressure of only 2 mm/Hg can reduce the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack by up to 10%.
Pressure: which factors have an influence on it?
The study authors considered all those factors that may affect a person’s blood pressure, such as age, gender, lifestyle, drug consumption, coffee and alcohol, exercise and type 2 diabetes mellitus. The results of the study show that the benefits of the afternoon nap are being maintained after these parameters, highlighting their remarkable effectiveness. The time spent resting during the day also influenced the reduction in pressure: for each hour of siesta the reduction was 3 millimetres of mercury (on average, the “nap” of the participants lasted 49 minutes). With no intention of encouraging people to sleep for hours during the day, at least, given the benefits, it does not feel guilty who closes their eyes.