Thursday, May 21, 2009

Naps May Reduce Stress

A recent study shows midday naps may have a positive impact on the heart, especially for working men.

The Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Athens Medical School ran a six-year study on more than 23,000 Greek adults, the results of which appeared in The Archives of Internal Medicine in February 2007. Investigators found those who took a nap three times per week for an average of at least 30 minutes had a 37 percent lower coronary mortality than those not taking siestas. The study’s investigators concluded that “afternoon siesta in a healthy individual may act as a stress-releasing habit, and there is considerable evidence that stress has both short- and long-term effects on incidence of and mortality from coronary heart disease (CHD).”

Experts agree it’s the stress release value of a nap that is likely the reason behind the health benefits. Brian Bohner, M.D., director of the Sinai Sleep Center, says stress reduction in any form—be it napping, meditation or biofeedback—is a good idea.

“The message from this study should not be that everyone should go out and take a two-hour siesta,” he says. “But stress has an impact on coronary mortality, and stress reduction in whatever form you do it is important.”

LifeBridge Health internist Steven Gambert, M.D., says a nap should be between 30-45 minutes, and those who nap should expect to sleep less at night. For those who don’t receive enough sleep—less than eight hours a night for most people—Bohner suggests there may be restorative value to an occasional nap.

“The most traditional advice is not to take a routine nap but a nap to catch up on lost sleep,” he says.

1 comment:

Good Health Blog said...

and my mom used to say early to bed an early to rise ;) she must read this article .. why i m so stessfull..napping will reduce my stress..neways very nicely written..keep good work on.