A study has suggested that mid-day naps at office not only boost productivity but also reduce blood pressure significantly. Midday sleep is a habit that nowadays is a privilege, owing to long and demanding working culture and intense daily routine.
"But according to our study, mid-day naps seem to lower blood pressure levels and may probably also decrease the number of required anti-hypertensive medications," said Manolis Kallistratos, cardiologist at Asklepieion Voula General Hospital in Athens, Greece.
The study included 386 middle-aged patients with arterial hypertension.
Along with other measures, the researchers looked at mid-day sleep time (an average of 17 minutes), office blood pressure levels and lifestyle habits.
After adjusting for other factors such as age, gender, exercise and Body Mass Index (BMI), the researchers found that mid-day sleepers had five percent lower average 24 hour BP, compared to patients who did not sleep at all mid-day.
"Although the mean BP decrease seems low, it has to be mentioned that reductions as small as two mmHg (a measure of pressure) in systolic blood pressure can reduce the risk of cardiovascular events by up to 10 percent," Kallistratos added.
The researchers also found that among mid-day sleepers, pulse wave velocity levels were 11 percent lower and left atrium diameter was five percent smaller.
"The findings suggest that mid-day sleepers have less damage from high blood pressure in their arteries and heart," Kallistratos added.
Mid-day sleepers also had greater dips in blood pressure while sleeping at night which is associated with better health outcomes.
"We also found that hypertensive patients who slept at noon were under fewer anti-hypertensive medications compared to those who didn't sleep mid-day," the author noted.
"The longer the mid-day sleep, the lower the systolic BP levels and probably fewer drugs needed to lower BP," Kallistratos concluded.
The findings were presented at the ESC Congress at the annual congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) in London on August 29.