Hypertension (high blood pressure) affects 31.1% of the adult population worldwide and contributes to the burden of health problems. [1] Hypertension increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure, and accounts for about 9.4 million deaths every year in the world. [2]

A recent study finds that people who take a midday nap have better blood pressure control than those who do not nap. More specifically, participants who slept for an hour after their lunchtime meal had an average systolic blood pressure that was 6mmHG lower than their peers. In addition, nappers tended to use fewer blood-pressure medications. [3]

The study included 386 patients who were being treated for high blood pressure with an average age of 61. The participants also had other cardiovascular risk factors: 27% had diabetes, 31% were smokers, and the majority were generally overweight. However, the people in the midday nap category still saw a drop in blood pressure readings.

While it may be hard for full-time workers and those with other daytime responsibilities to take a 60-minute midday nap, catching a few zzzs at lunchtime could be beneficial.

[1] Mills KT, Bundy JD, Kelly TN, et al. Global disparities of hypertension prevalence and control: a systematic analysis of population-based studies from 90 countries. Circulation. 2016;134(6):441–450. 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.115.018912.

[2] Kearney PM, Whelton M, Reynolds K, et al. Global burden of hypertension: analysis of worldwide data. Lancet. 2005;365(9455):217–223. 10.1016/S01406736(05)17741-1.

[3] Kallistratos M, Poulimenos L, Karamanou A, et al. Association of mid-day naps occurrence and duration with blood pressure levels in hypertensive patients. A prospective observational study. Journal of Hypertension, 2015 June: doi: 10.1097/01.hjh.0000468209.39013.ca.