Midday sleep could help reduce blood pressure in hypertensive patients as well as decreases the use of anti-hypertensive medication, says Dr Manolis Kallistratos, a cardiologist at Asklepieion Voula General Hospital in Athens.
Kallistratos assessed the effects of midday naps in hypertensive patients and found that the naps reduced their blood pressure and also helped reduce the number of anti-hypertensive pills required. The researcher included 200 men and 186 women with arterial hypertension in the study, according to Science Daily.
Blood pressure in office, pulse wave velocity, midday sleep time (in minutes), body mass index (BMI), 24 hour ambulatory BP, lifestyle habits and a complete echocardiographic evaluation including left atrial size were measured in all the patients for the study. The blood pressure measured was recorded appropriately as systolic and diastolic BP. The interpretation of the results were made after adjusting the factors that influence blood pressure levels like age, BMI and gender of a person and habits like smoking, salt levels, exercise, coffee and alcohol consumption.
The study results showed that people that took midday naps had 5 percent lower ambulatory systolic BP (6 mmHg) than those that had no midday sleep. It was also observed in midday sleepers that their BP were 4 percent lower when they slept sometime during the day than being awake as well as 6 percent lower when they had good sleep at nights than those that had no midday naps, reported Science Codex.
Kallistratos noted that “Although the mean BP decrease seems low, it has to be mentioned that reductions as small as 2 mmHg in systolic blood pressure can reduce the risk of cardiovascular events by up to 10%.” He also added that “These findings suggest that midday sleepers have less damage from high blood pressure in their arteries and heart.”
The investigators summarized the findings, saying, “We found that midday sleep is associated with lower 24 hour blood pressure, an enhanced fall of BP in night, and less damage to the arteries and the heart. The longer the midday sleep, the lower the systolic BP levels and probably fewer drugs needed to lower BP.”