Having an afternoon nap can stop you from having a heart attack

A study conducted in Switzerland had shown that short-term sleep reduces the risk of heart disease.

HAVING a midday nap is good for you, scientists have found. It reduces blood pressure and helps guard against heart attacks and stroke.

Patients who already had high blood pressure, or hypertension, needed fewer drugs to control their condition, the Greek study showed.

And the longer the nap, the better the health benefits. Those who slept in the afternoon not only had lower blood pressure when awake but also at night.

Their average systolic blood pressure over the whole 24 hours was five per cent lower than those who stayed awake throughout the day.
Cardiologist Dr Manolis Kallistratos, of Asklepieion Voula general hospital in Athens, said: 

Although the poet 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.
Two influential British 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 3pm. According to our study they were right because midday naps seem to lower blood pressure levels.
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 anti-hypertensive medications compared with those who didn’t sleep at midday. We found that midday sleep is associated with lower 24-hour blood pressure, an enhanced fall of blood pressure at night, and less damage to the arteries and the heart. The longer the midday sleep, the lower the systolic BP levels.

The research was presented at a congress in London of the European Society of Cardiology.

The gathering also heard about a study in Paris which found that women are more likely to die after heart attack treatment than men.

They are also less likely to be offered an angioplasty procedure to widen blocked or narrowed arteries.

Experts said this could be down to the fact that women tend to be older when they suffer heart attacks and are also more likely to be diabetic, both factors that increase the risk of death.

But it could be due to sexism among doctors.

Professor Carlo Di Mario, of the Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Trust in London, said: 

The medical community must decide how much of this gender imbalance is due to inherent characteristics within the female population or to the wrong attitude of physicians.

Heart disease kills around 73,000 people in the UK every year and is the leading cause of death in both sexes.

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