Why you should be taking more naps
Turns out, a nap a day could really keep the doctor away.
Yes, you read right. Stealing some shut-eye in the mid-afternoon doesn’t just feel like winning the sleeping lottery, it could also have serious health benefits.
This is not a drill. According to a study presented in London over the weekend at the European Society of Cardiology, patients who took up to a 60-minute nap in the afternoon had lower blood pressure than those who didn’t, the Telegraph reports.
Scientists studied nearly 400 middle-aged men and women with hypertension, or high blood pressure and found that people who took just one mid-day nap in the span of 24 hours could lower their blood pressure by up to 6% when they slept that night.
Dr. Manolis Kallistratos, a cardiologist from Asklepieion Voula General Hospital in Athens, and author of the study, admitted that while the rates of lower blood pressure are fairly small, it’s enough to lower the risk of serious complications like heart attacks.
“Midday sleep is a habit that nowadays is almost a privilege due to a nine to five working culture and intense daily routine,” he writes. “Our study shows that not only is midday sleep associated with lower blood pressure, but longer sleeps are even more beneficial.”
Plus, the simple act of sleeping more during the day lowers the need for as many medications, which bring with them plenty of complications and side-effects.
The idea of a mid-day siesta is hardly new. In Italy, Spain, and the Philippines, siestas are built into the daily fabric of society, making it an almost-mandatory thing to hit the hay after a big lunch.
And they may be onto something. According to a 2013 World Health Organization report on life expectancy around the globe, Spain and Italy tied for second with the average life expectancy of 83 (85-86 for women and around 80 for men).
The U.S. ranks dismally on the list at number 34.
So if you’re reading this in class or at the office, be sure to tell your teacher or boss that you’re not pulling a George Costanza and being lazy as you nap under your desk – you’re ensuring the future of your health!
(Image via NBC)