Napping Health Benefits May Include Lowered Blood Pressure, According To A New Study

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I was that annoying kid in preschool who always refused to nap. Now, I see the error of my ways. Not only is napping the thing I miss most about childhood, napping is good for you. On top of giving you that midday energy boost, taking a midday nap can lower your blood pressure, a new study shows. While issues like high blood pressure might seem like they only happen to older folks, cardiac episodes are on the rise in younger women, a health issue that can be prevented with early interventions like lowering your blood pressure. In addition, the recent death of actor Luke Perry, who passed away at age 52 after experiencing a massive stroke, is raising awareness about stroke risk in younger people.

The study by the American College of Cardiology found that, similar to other lifestyle changes like reducing salt and alcohol intake, napping on the regular could help lower blood pressure. One of the study's co-authors, Dr. Manolis Kallistratos, cardiologist at the Asklepieion General Hospital in Voula, Greece, said this discovery is significant because, for those with high blood pressure, even small reductions can minimize the risk for both heart attack and stroke.

In light of this news about increased risk of heart attack and stroke for Gen-Xers and millennials, the idea of adding an activity to your day that you already enjoy in order to stay healthy is enticing. "We obviously don't want to encourage people to sleep for hours on end during the day, but on the other hand, they shouldn't feel guilty if they can take a short nap, given the potential health benefits," Dr. Kallistratos said in a press release.

According to The National Sleep Foundation, myriad cultures around the world encourage midday naps. In fact, in China, it's considered a constitutional right for workers to nap at their desks after lunch, Newsweek reported. For some reason, the U.S. seems to have historically shunned naps for adults, but the advent of nap cafes and the fake holiday National Napping Day proves that Americans want more naps.

Because everyone is tired. And sleep-deprived people are bad for the economy, a 2011 study published in the journal SLEEP noted. A 2015 study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences found that people who napped were generally less frustrated and exhibited greater impulse control. If you follow this line of reasoning, it could mean that workplaces that allow midday naps employ people who are less likely to get into communication kerfuffles because they're tired.

If you're feeling extra in need of a nap today, know that it's good for your health. National Napping Day mercifully comes on the heels of Daylight Saving Time, a day where most of us (unless you live in Arizona, Hawaii, or Puerto Rico) could use a bit of a sleep boost. In addition to giving people an excuse to nap, the day is touted as a way to bring attention to the myriad health benefits derived from napping. "

We chose this particular Monday because Americans are more 'nap-ready' than usual after losing an hour of sleep to Daylight Saving Time," Dr. Anthony is quoted as saying, according to the National Day Calendar. So if you able, take a nap today. You totally deserve it.