AN AFTERNOON nap is just as effective as taking a pill to cut blood pressure, research suggests.
Scientists found those who enjoyed a midday snooze were more likely to experience a drop in readings compared to adults who stayed awake.
NHS guidance states ideal blood pressure should range between 90 and 120mmHg for systolic blood pressure.
49-minute nap is all you need
In a trial involving 212 people with an average age of 62, Greek researchers found a daily 49-minute nap slashed their readings by 5mmHg.
Experts claim patients can expect a similar drop after taking a low-dose blood pressure pill.
Lead researcher Dr Manolis Kallistratos, from Asklepieion General Hospital in Greece, said: “Midday sleep appears to lower blood pressure levels at the same magnitude as other lifestyle changes.
“Based on our findings, if someone has the luxury to take a nap during the day, it may also have benefits for high blood pressure.
“Napping can be easily adopted and typically doesn’t cost anything.”
‘Sleep is vital for our wellbeing’
The findings were presented at the American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session in New Orleans.
Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said patients should consider other lifestyle changes first.
She said: “Getting enough sleep is important for both our general wellbeing and our heart and circulatory health.
“But there’s good evidence to show healthy lifestyle choices, such as cutting down on your salt and alcohol intake, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly, are the best ways to help us keep our blood pressure low.
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“As tempting as it might sound to swap all of these measures for a daily siesta, making healthy lifestyle choices remains the key to preventing heart attacks and strokes, along with taking medication where recommended.”
High blood pressure is known as the silent killer, because signs often go unnoticed until it is too late.
Under NHS rules, it is a reading over 140/90mmHg – with around 12 million Brits affected.