High blood pressure, if left untreated, can cause catastrophic damage to the body, the most serious being heart disease, a major killer both in the UK and worldwide. One of the most unsettling aspects of high blood pressure is that it tends to rise without any visible signs, so seemingly innocuous activities, such as eating certain foods, can send your blood pressure soaring without any external changes. While there are clear red lines, such as eating a diet high in salt, new research finds a surprising risk factor associated with high blood pressure.
Research published in the science journal Heart and Lung found a strong association between taking an afternoon nap and raised blood pressure.
Afternoon napping is a popular pastime, especially in hotter countries where temperatures rise after mid-day.
The new research sends a chilling warning sign to afternoon nappers, however, finding that middle-aged and older women who napped for more than 90 minutes were 39 percent and 54 percent more likely to suffer high blood pressure.
The association is based on a study looking at the lifestyle and health of nearly 8,000 Chinese adults over the age of 45.
It studied the health of people who did not take afternoon naps, those who slept for up to 30 minutes, those who napped for 30 to 59 minutes, 60 to 89 minutes and more than 90 minutes.
The risk of high blood pressure was highest among women who napped in the afternoon for more than 90 minutes.
Commenting on the findings, the researchers said: “Our findings suggest that there are indeed significant associations between afternoon napping and hypertension.
“Extended afternoon napping of 90 minutes was associated with hypertension, especially in women and older adults.