Friday, March 15, 2019

Napping may be as good as drugs for lowering blood pressure

A midday nap may be just what you need, not just to boost your energy levels but also to lower high blood pressure. This, at least, is what new research from Greece suggests.

A new study that investigators from the Asklepieion General Hospital in Voula, Greece conducted now suggests that taking a nap at midday can effectively help people lower their blood pressure levels.

In this study, the investigators worked with 212 participants who had a mean blood pressure of 129.9 mm Hg. The participants were, on average, 62 years old, and close to one in four of them smoked, had a diagnosis of type II diabetes, or both.

The team split the participants into two groups — one that practiced midday napping and one that did not take up this practice. Over 24 consecutive hours, the researchers took note of the participants' blood pressure measurements, the duration of their midday naps, their general lifestyle choices (such as alcohol consumption and physical activity), and their pulse wave velocity, which measures artery stiffness.

The researchers found that people who took a daytime nap saw a 5.3 mm Hg drop in systolic blood pressure, which, the researchers explain, is about as much as someone could expect when taking blood pressure medication or making certain lifestyle changes to lower blood pressure.
Moreover, the team adds that each additional 60 minutes of napping time reduced average 24-hour systolic blood pressure by 3 mm Hg. Dr. Kallistratos explains that taking low doses of specialized drugs can lower a person's blood pressure levels by about 5–7 mm Hg on average.

"These findings are important because a drop in blood pressure as small as 2 mm Hg can reduce the risk of cardiovascular events, such as heart attack, by up to 10 percent," says the researcher.

My Take:
Many cultures around the world incorporate napping into their lifestyle. This is especially true in warmer climates where the mid-day heat is often oppressive. I love mid-day nap and do so probably 4-5 days a week.

Bottom Line:
Napping is another simple lifestyle change that can improve your general health and help you avoid taking prescription drugs. As I have mentioned in several blogs, hypertensive medications are often the first step on the road to polypharmacy. The average adult American takes 4.5 prescription drugs daily. Much of this could be eliminated with simple lifestyle changes.

Source: March 13, 2019 NIH

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