A Science-Backed Reason Why You Should Take Afternoon Naps

afternoon Naps good for health
Photo by Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash

It’s the research we I have been waiting for—a science-backed reason to indulge our passion for afternoon snoozes. Whether you’re convalescing on the beach in the late afternoon sun or rugged up on the couch hygge-ing the hell outta life, naps are close to all of our hearts, thanks to their restorative properties. Now, new research suggests that the benefits of napping to the health of your heart are huge—here’s what you need to know.

The study

Naps good for health
Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

A study presented at the American College of Cardiology has found that for every extra hour of sleep someone manages to catch during the day, their blood pressure the next day goes down by 3mm Hg. While this might not sound like much—rest assured that it’s significant; as for those that are prone to heart disease, a consistent drop of just 2mm Hg is enough to reduce the risk of heart attack by up to 10 per cent.

Overall, the average systolic blood pressure of those who napped was 5.3 mm Hg lower than those who didn’t. This means that napping could be on par with other common heart disease treatments such as medication, more exercise, and less salt and alcohol. We’ll take that!

Manolis Kallistratos, MD, a cardiologist at the Asklepieion General Hospital in Voula, Greece, and one of the study’s co-authors said, “based on our findings if someone has the luxury to take a nap during the day, it may have benefits for high blood pressure. Napping can be easily adopted and typically doesn’t cost anything.”

Well, you know what they say—a nap a day keeps high blood pressure at bay!

The healing powers of sleep

sleep deprived afternoon naps
Image: iStock

While we’re on the subject, it’s worth rehashing what we know about why sleep is so freakin’ important for your overall health and wellbeing. As well as (apparently) being great for your heart—it’s also instrumental in balancing your hormones; which is important for a myriad of reasons.

According to Olivia Arezzolo, our resident sleep expert, a bad nights of sleep instantly alters your hormones—making you much more likely to feel stressed, depressed, anxious and ‘wired’, have memory lapses and be unable to concentrate, gain weight from eating more, have a slower metabolism, lose muscle tone, crave sugary snacks, become more likely to be sick, and take longer to recover if you do become sick. So, yeah—let’s just say it’s pretty important.

Olivia explains that quality sleep is so critical and often the missing link in people’s wellness routines—because ultimately, it governs how you think, feel and behave. These factors predict whether you’re able to mentally and physically attain your best. She says that “with sleep, you’re able to be your best self. Without it, you’re severely limiting your capacity. Fortunately, sleep is free, accessible to all and transportable—you just need to know how to do it properly.”

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