Midday naps associated with reduced blood pressure and fewer medications

August 29, 2015, European Society of Cardiology
Credit: Vera Kratochvil/public domain

Midday naps are associated with reduced blood pressure levels and prescription of fewer antihypertensive medications, according to research presented at ESC Congress today by Dr Manolis Kallistratos, a cardiologist at Asklepieion Voula General Hospital in Athens, Greece.

"Although William Blake affirms that it is better to think in the morning, act at noon, eat in the evening and sleep at night, noon sleep seems to have beneficial effects," said Dr Kallistratos. "Two influential UK Prime Ministers were supporters of the midday nap. Winston Churchill said that we must sleep sometime between lunch and dinner while Margaret Thatcher didn't want to be disturbed at around 3:00 pm. According to our study they were right because midday naps seem to lower and may probably also decrease the number of required antihypertensive medications."

He added: "Μidday sleep is a habit that nowadays is almost a privileged due to a nine to five working culture and intense daily routine. However the real question regarding this habit is: is it only a custom or is it also beneficial?"

The purpose of this prospective study was to assess the effect of midday sleep on blood pressure (BP) levels in hypertensive patients. The study included 386 middle aged patients (200 men and 186 women, average age 61.4 years) with arterial hypertension. The following measurements were performed in all patients: midday sleep time (in minutes), office BP, 24 hour ambulatory BP, pulse wave velocity,2 lifestyle habits, body mass index (BMI) and a complete echocardiographic evaluation including left atrial size.3 BP measurements were reported as diastolic and systolic BP.4

After adjusting for other factors that could influence BP such as age, gender, BMI, smoking status, salt, alcohol, exercise and coffee, the researchers found that midday sleepers had 5% lower average 24 hour ambulatory systolic BP (6 mmHg) compared to patients who did not sleep at all midday. Their average systolic BP readings were 4% lower when they were awake (5 mmHg) and 6% lower while they slept at night (7 mmHg) than non-midday sleepers (Figure 1).

Dr Kallistratos said: "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%."

The researchers also found that in midday sleepers pulse wave velocity levels were 11% lower and left atrium diameter was 5% smaller. "These findings suggest that midday sleepers have less damage from high blood pressure in their arteries and heart," said Dr Kallistratos.

The duration of midday sleep was associated with the burden of arterial hypertension. Patients who slept for 60 minutes midday had 4 mmHg lower average 24 hour systolic BP readings and a 2% higher dipping status5 compared to patients who did not sleep midday. Dippers had an average of 17 minutes more midday sleep than non-dippers.

Dr Kallistratos said: "Our study shows that not only is midday sleep associated with lower blood pressure, but longer sleeps are even more beneficial. Midday sleepers had greater dips in blood pressure while sleeping at night which is associated with better health outcomes. We also found that hypertensive patients who slept at noon were under fewer antihypertensive medications compared to those who didn't sleep midday."

He concluded: "We found that midday sleep is associated with lower 24 hour , 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."

Explore further: Visit-to-visit SBP variability not linked to major cardiac events

More information: Dr Kallistratos will present the abstract 'Association of mid-day naps occurrence and duration with BP levels in hypertensive patients. A prospective observational study'

Related Stories

Visit-to-visit SBP variability not linked to major cardiac events

June 23, 2015
(HealthDay)—Inadequate blood pressure (BP) control, but not visit-to-visit variability of systolic BP, is associated with major adverse cardiac events (MACE) among patients with hypertension and coronary artery disease ...

Antihypertensive therapy reduces CV events, strokes and mortality in older adults

August 31, 2014
Antihypertensive therapy reduces the risk of cardiovascular (CV) events, strokes and mortality in hypertensive older adults, according to research presented at ESC Congress 2014 today by Dr Maciej Ostrowski from Poland. The ...

Low diastolic blood pressure may be associated with brain atrophy

June 10, 2013
Low baseline diastolic blood pressure (DBP) appears to be associated with brain atrophy in patients with arterial disease, whenever declining levels of blood pressure (BP) over time among patients who had a higher baseline ...

Before an operation, low blood pressure rather than high is a risk factor for death

May 29, 2015
New research presented at this year's Euroanaesthesia congress in Berlin, Germany, suggests that, before an operation, low blood pressure (hypotension) rather than high blood pressure (hypertension) is an independent risk ...

Vegetarian diets associated with lower blood pressure

February 24, 2014
Eating a vegetarian diet appears to be associated with lower blood pressure (BP), and the diets can also be used to reduce blood pressure.

Relation of poor sleep quality to resistant hypertension

September 21, 2012
For people who already have high blood pressure, insomnia can have serious consequences, according to a new study presented at the American Heart Association's High Blood Pressure Research 2012 Scientific Sessions.

Recommended for you

A nanoparticle inhalant for treating heart disease

January 18, 2018
A team of researchers from Italy and Germany has developed a nanoparticle inhalant for treating people suffering from heart disease. In their paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the group describes ...

Starting periods before age of 12 linked to heightened risk of heart disease and stroke

January 15, 2018
Starting periods early—before the age of 12—is linked to a heightened risk of heart disease and stroke in later life, suggests an analysis of data from the UK Biobank study, published online in the journal Heart.

'Decorated' stem cells could offer targeted heart repair

January 10, 2018
Although cardiac stem cell therapy is a promising treatment for heart attack patients, directing the cells to the site of an injury - and getting them to stay there - remains challenging. In a new pilot study using an animal ...

Two simple tests could help to pinpoint cause of stroke

January 10, 2018
Detecting the cause of the deadliest form of stroke could be improved by a simple blood test added alongside a routine brain scan, research suggests.

Exercise is good for the heart, high blood pressure is bad—researchers find out why

January 10, 2018
When the heart is put under stress during exercise, it is considered healthy. Yet stress due to high blood pressure is bad for the heart. Why? And is this always the case? Researchers of the German Centre for Cardiovascular ...

Heart-muscle patches made with human cells improve heart attack recovery

January 10, 2018
Large, human cardiac-muscle patches created in the lab have been tested, for the first time, on large animals in a heart attack model. This clinically relevant approach showed that the patches significantly improved recovery ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.