It turns out that Don Draper taking a snooze on his office couch was more than just him sleeping off another three-martini lunch. There are actual health benefits to be had from taking a mid-day nap! According to a study conducted by the European Society of Cardiology, those of us who are able to sneak in a few afternoon ZZs have lower average blood pressure and are at a significantly reduced risk for heart attack as well.
The 386 study participants were both men and women, with the average age of 61, who suffered from high blood pressure. Researchers recorded and analyzed the resting and walking blood pressure of each participant while making adjustments for body mass index, race, gender, age, alcohol and smoking habits, salt intake and other lifestyle choices that could affect the outcomes.
Those who reported regularly napping for up to an hour had on average five percent lower blood pressure than those who forwent afternoon siestas. While that may seem like a small number, lead researcher Dr. Manolis Kallistratos said that it absolutely was significant enough to drastically reduce rates of heart attacks.
It seems the effects of those short afternoon naps lasted through the day, bringing on greater blood pressure dips during long, nighttime sleeps — something that’s strongly tied to better overall health.
Midday naps have also been known to help promote productivity, increase energy and boost your mood. Of course, there’s only one problem: Our society has built a working culture that makes napping nearly impossible. While most of us don’t have the lie-down luxury of the Creative Director of Sterling, Draper, Cooper, Price while we’re working our nine-to-five, the findings are definitely reason enough for us to hope that HR offices take note and budget naps into a productive day!
Do you ever sneak in an afternoon nap at the office? Tweet us @britandco to let us know!