Daytime sleep is good for
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Grabbing an hour's sleep during the day could
have cardiovascular benefits, according to a new study.
The study by Ryan Brindle and Sarah Conklin, from Allegheny College in
Pennsylvania looked at the effect of a daytime nap on cardiovascular recovery
following a stress test and found that those participants who slept for at least
45 minutes during the day had lower average blood pressure after psychological
stress than those who did not sleep.
Long work schedules, shift work, increased anxiety and greater uses of the
Internet and television late at night-all characteristics of our modern
society-have had an impact on nocturnal sleep.
For the study, the researchers split 85 healthy university students into two
groups: One group was allotted a 60-minute interval during the day when they had
the opportunity to sleep; the other group did not sleep during the day.
The researchers also asked the students to complete questionnaires assessing
sleep quality and complete a cardiovascular reactivity task, involving a complex
mental subtracting exercise.
Brindle and Conklin measured the students'' blood pressure and pulse rates at
regular intervals throughout the experiment.
They found that daytime sleep seemed to have a restorative effect with students
in the sleep condition reporting lower scores of sleepiness than those who did
not sleep. Although blood pressure and pulse rates rose in both groups between
baseline and the stress phase, during the recovery phase, those who had napped
had significantly lower average blood pressure readings than those who had not
These results show that sleeping between 45 and 60 minutes during the day
appears to facilitate blood pressure recovery after a mental stress task in the
"Our findings suggest that daytime sleep may offer cardiovascular benefit by
accelerating cardiovascular recovery following mental stressors. Further
research is needed to explore the mechanism by which daytime sleep is linked
with cardiovascular health and to evaluate daytime sleep as a recuperative and
protective practice, especially for individuals with known cardiovascular
disease risk and those with suboptimal sleep quality," concluded the
The findings have been published in Springer's journal International Journal of