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Study says taking a nap can lower your blood pressure just as well as pills — but there’s a catch

Tinpixels/iStock
Tinpixels/iStock

(NEW YORK) — Monday is National Nap Day, and now there’s a serious medical finding that may convince you to get some midday shuteye.

Taking a nap isn’t just about recharging your batteries — a new study says clocking out for a bit during the day can lower your blood pressure as much as taking blood pressure medication can.

Researcher Manolis Kallistratos with Asklepieion General Hospital in Greece and his colleagues studied 212 people who had high blood pressure, and prescribed a nap for some, and none for the other group. Those who napped at least 49 minutes in the afternoon saw their systolic blood pressure fall an average of  5mm/Hg lower compared to those who didn’t take a nap.

Kallistros noted, “These findings are important because a fall in blood pressure as small as 2 mm Hg can reduce the risk of cardiovascular events, such as heart attack, by up to 10 percent.”

The researchers are presenting their findings at the upcoming American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session in New Orleans.

But before you throw your pills in the trash, the ABC News Medical Units had some caveats, most notably, that the study was a small one, and the researchers don’t say for how long the effect was sustained.

At any rate, a nap is not a substitute for pills if prescribed by a physician.

What’s more, the effect the nappers enjoyed might very well be from living an existence that’s chill enough for them to actually be able to take a midday nap and not the nap itself.

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