Siestas can boost cardiovascular health

3 March 2011

Getting some shut-eye during the day is relatively uncommon in the UK - unless you're under the age of four.

However, new research from the US could change the world's perception of the siesta after scientists discovered that a short power nap during the day can actually boost a person's heart health.

Cardiovascular experts from the Allegheny College in Pennsylvania found that sleeping for between 45 and 60 minutes during the day can help to reduce blood pressure.

The healthy young adults used for the research were split into two groups - half were allowed up to an hour of sleep during the day and half were not.

Participants completed a standard three-phased mental stress reactivity test and their blood pressure was monitored throughout.

The researchers found that patients who had had a nap felt more rested and had significantly lower mean arterial pressure during the recovery phase of the test - i.e. after stress testing.

"These findings suggest daytime sleep may offer cardiovascular benefit in the form of greater cardiovascular recovery from psychological stress," the US scientists claimed.

They added: "Further research should assess daytime sleep characteristics (time of day, length, and architecture) on cardiovascular response."


1 Brindle, Ryan and Conklin, Sarah. "Daytime Sleep Accelerates Cardiovascular Recovery after Psychological Stress". International Journal of Behavioural Medicine. March 2011.


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