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Mid-day Naps Healthy for Your Heart

For the sleep starved, it’s another encouragement to shut those eyes//.

Scientists from the Harvard School of Public Health have come out with study results that may make it worthwhile to have an afternoon nap, at least for your heart.

Dimitrios Trichopoulos, lead researcher, looked at sleep patterns in Mediterranean countries where the afternoon nap or siesta is common.

Incidence or rates of heart diseases are low in this part of the world, often attributed to the Mediterranean diet which compromises fruits, vegetables, beans, olive oil and a little bit of red wine.

The researchers analyzed data garnered from 23,000 Greek men and women between the ages 20 to 86 and over a period of 6 years.

After adjusting for confounding factors such as obesity, smoking and diet, the protective association of siestas and reduced risks of heart related deaths, was found to persist.

It was revealed that those who took siestas of around half an hour, at least three times a week were 37 percent times lesser prone to deaths occurring from heart diseases.

The benefits were seen to be significantly higher in workingmen; if they took regular catnaps, their risk of dying from heart diseases dropped by 64 percent, according to the results published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

So, what makes this happen?

The scientists opine that hitting the sack in the afternoon reduces levels of stress, and stress is a well-documented forerunner of heart diseases.

Says Trichopoulos,"It may not be a question of a siesta improving your life, but if you go without one that's an indicator of the stresses and strains you are under.

According to him, no firm conclusions can be drawn on the basis of this study alone, except that the issue is worth further investigation.

"Right now, we would only reassure those who take a siesta that this may actually be not simply pleasant and relax ing, but also a healthy habit”, Trichopoulos adds.
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