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Power Naps Can Save Your Life

Healthcare Research August 10, 2018

Power Naps

Take a break each day from the stresses and reduce your risks

In a global economy and society where businesses seem to run 24 hours/day, the pressure to stay late and come in early is taking its toll. A healthy 8-9 hours of sleep each night is becoming a thing of the past for today’s workers. For some working late hours means they can’t fall asleep early enough to get in 8-9 hours before they have to be up for the day again. Others complain that sleep seems to be a waste of time. They have far more important things to accomplish.

A recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows that a midday siesta or nap can be very good for you. The study was performed in Greece over a period of years from 1994 to 1999. None of the 23,681 Greek men and women between the ages of 20 and 86 who participated in this study had any history of heart disease or other chronic conditions before they began the study.

Lower stress hormone levels

The researchers concluded that those who took time out to get away from the stresses of their job by taking a midday siesta showed significantly lower risk for heart disease than those who did not. Stress hormone levels were lower in those who took stress-reducing actions such as napping.

There were 792 deaths among the participants and 133 of them were deaths from heart disease. Factoring in other risks for heart disease, the researchers tabulated their results and found that in general, those who napped for any frequency and duration lowered their risks of heart disease.

Random VS Systematic Nappers

Those who took naps of random frequency and duration showed a 34% lowered risk. Those who systematically napped for 30 or more minutes at least three times a week showed a 37% reduction in their risk for heart disease.

When should I nap?

The most effective time to nap according to the study is between 1 and 3 PM when the body’s temperature has peaked and is dropping. This phenomenon also happens between 1 and 3 AM. A pattern of snoozing and taking a break from the day’s stresses has shown to lower blood pressure and improve performance.

Don’t Fall Into Deep Sleep

Naps should be short duration (between 15 to 45 minutes) and one should not fall into a deep sleep. You can nap in any position, but preferably support your head either on the back of your chair or lay your head on your desk. Loosen restrictive clothing and relax your muscles. Darken th room or use an eye shade. Turn off your cell phone. Awaken slowly, stretch and take a few deep breaths. A power nap of 15 -20 minutes right before an important meeting or a test can dramatically improve your attention span and concentration.

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