More than 1/3 of Australians over 18 have hypertension (high blood pressure)

Blood pressure is the pressure in your arteries as your heart beats and relaxes. A normal blood pressure is up to 129/84 mmHg.

Hypertension overloads your heart and arteries, and restricts the flow of blood to your vital organs.
Over time it can result in:

  • Heart disease including heart attacks
  • Stroke
  • Kidney failure
  • Eye damage
  • and other conditions

Lifestyle changes can reduce your blood pressure.  things like reducing your weight by around 10% if you’re overweight, reducing alcohol and salt intake and moderate exercise on most days of the week for 45 minutes or more.

And in addition, something as simple as a midday nap may lower your blood pressure.

Researchers have found that a midday nap is associated with an average 3 mmHg drop in blood pressure. this is a comparable effect to the other lifestyle changes.

The researchers studied 212 people, with an average age of 62 years. Participants all wore a blood pressure monitor for 24 hours.

They assessed and recorded blood pressure, midday sleep duration, lifestyle habits and pulse wave velocity (a measure of artery ‘stiffness’).

For every hour napping, the average 24-hour systolic pressure (pressure as the heart contracts) lowered by 3 mmHg.

Given that a blood pressure drop of 2 mmHg is associated with a 10% reduced risk of heart disease, these results are important although further research is needed to validate the findings.

Along with combatting high blood pressure, a 10-minute nap can:

  • Increase alertness
  • Improve mood
  • Improve concentration
  • Reduce stress.

Last Reviewed: 28/02/2021


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