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Nap for Lower Blood Pressure

Nap for Lower Blood Pressure

Find out the cardiovascular benefits of a daytime snooze.

High blood pressure (HBP) affects about 33 percent of Americans—almost 78 million folks. If that stat seems staggering, consider what it is for athletes in the NFL: 91 percent of the largest players have hypertension or prehypertension and 78 percent of the smallest do!

We know you want to take control of your blood pressure—and the NFL for sure wants to protect its players from strokes and heart attacks that HBP can trigger. So, with the multiple recalls of antihypertension medications, there’s no time like the present to focus on lifestyle adjustments to prevent or control high blood pressure.

Don’t fret. We don’t want to pressure you about your blood pressure. In fact, we want you to take a nap!

Research presented at the American College of Cardiology's 68th Annual Scientific Session found that a daily siesta (average length 49 minutes) lowers blood pressure as well as reducing salt and alcohol intake do. And it works almost as well as taking low-dose antihypertensive medications. The nappers (average age 62) saw their top number go down 5 mmHg. (Your target: 120 mmHg over 75 mmHg. That will make your RealAge about seven years younger than a typical 55-year-old American whose BP is 138/88.)

That reduction matters, they explain, because “a drop in blood pressure as small as 2 mmHg can reduce the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack by up to 10 percent.” So don’t let anyone nag you about napping. Tell ’em it’s one of the heart-healthy habits that will extend and increase your productivity.

Record your blood pressure on the Sharecare app for iOS and Android so you can keep track of your progress.

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