Some folks consider napping to be a “lazy” habit. But when it comes to your health, there’s nothing lazy about a nap.
In fact, naps might be considered downright essential as we age. Because research has revealed, they could help protect you from major chronic diseases and early death.
There’s evidence napping may help…
- improve memory
- boost immune function
- reduce stress
- protect the heart
- ease anxiety
One study even finds napping could help reverse a condition responsible for more medication use than just about anything else: hypertension.
And in some cases, regular naps do the job so effectively you may not even need your meds anymore… just a comfy chair and about half an hour.
Try a napping and nix the drugs
Scientists have repeatedly looked at the connection between napping and blood pressure over the years. And the results have been remarkably consistent.
For example, in one study, volunteer nappers (talk about a fun gig) with very high blood pressure saw significant improvements with a daily doze. The changes were so impressive that many needed less high blood pressure meds.
In another study, the same team wanted to know if napping would work on folks whose blood pressure was already under better control.
That way, any significant dips they saw in blood pressure were much more likely the result of the napping.
And, I’m happy to report, it worked in those folks too.
Reduce blood pressure with naps
The study included 212 volunteers around the age of 62. The participants had an average blood pressure of 129.9 mm Hg or mild hypertension.
One out of four volunteers smoked or had diabetes (or both). And their risks for heart disease were similar across the board.
In other words, we’re talking about average folks here who were a lot like the rest of us.
For 24 hours, the participants had their blood pressure tracked. Plus, the researchers recorded their pulse wave velocity, a test that measures stiffness in your arteries.
Other variables that could affect blood pressure were considered as well, including…
- length of naps (average of 49 minutes)
- how much salt, coffee, and alcohol they were eating
- physical activity levels
And the data were also adjusted for factors that could have skewed the results, including gender, age, medications, and general lifestyle.
In the end, napping STILL was found to be a blood-pressure-correcting superstar.
Reign in hypertension with a midday snooze
The nappers’ blood pressure levels were down 3 to 5 points on average.
Now, at first, those might not seem like huge numbers. But the fact is if you have mild or borderline hypertension, a reduction of 3 to 5 points could easily kick your diagnosis back to normal. Or, if your BP runs very high, it could bring you closer to mild hypertension.
And that could have your doctor reducing or dropping your blood pressure meds.
If you have high blood pressure go ahead and give napping a try guilt-free. If your BP drops over time, then stick with it and make that midday snooze a part of your regular routine.
See my earlier report 7 reasons a short snooze is good for you for even MORE napping benefits.