Brilliant news: napping is good for your heart!

As you’re planning your day, be sure to allocate some time for that most indulgent of past-times: a nap.

And if you feel guilty about catching a few Zs during the day, forget about it – new research has shown that a daytime snooze at around lunchtime can lower blood pressure and ward off heart attacks.

If you were to take your napping habit seriously, you would be joining the ranks of some esteemed people, including Einstein, Margaret Thatcher, Bill Clinton, Morgan Freeman, Salvadore Dail and JFK.

The research, which was presented at the European Society of Cardiology conference in London, showed that a daily nap of an hour or more also reduces the need for blood pressure medications.

The study included 386 people with raised blood pressure who were aged 61 on average. It showed that those who took a nap had a four per cent lower blood pressure reading when they were awake and a six percent lower reading while they slept at night compared to the people who did not take a daytime snooze.

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The nappers showed less damage from high blood pressure in their arteries and heart.

Dr Manolis Kallistratos, a Greek cardiologist who led the new study says, “Our study shows that not only is midday sleep associated with lower blood pressure, but longer sleeps are even more beneficial.

“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 antihypertensive medications compared to those who didn’t sleep midday.”

Winston Churchill, another napper, once said that nature had not intended man to work from 8am until midnight “without that refreshment of blessed oblivion” in the middle of the day.

Looks like he was onto something.

Do you enjoy a day-time nap? Will this research change your attitude to day-time sleeping?