A nap a day could save your life. Research suggests a daily nap could reduce blood pressure and stave off heart attacks. Longer naps of up to an hour achieved the best results.

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Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/11831863/A-nap-a-day-could-save-your-life-research-suggests.html

It is the news that nap afficionados have been waiting for.

A mid-day snooze doesn’t just have the power to revive – it could reduce blood pressure and prevent a future heart attack.

Research involving almost 400 middle-aged men and women found that those who had a nap at noon later had lower blood pressure than those who stayed awake through the day.

The findings, presented at the European Society of Cardiology annual conference in London, showed pressure was lower both when awake and later, during their night time sleep.

The small difference – of around 5 per cent – was enough to have a significant impact on rates of heart attack, researchers said.

Far smaller reductions have been found to reduce the chance of cardiovascular events by 10 per cent, the cardiologists said.

Researchers from Asklepieion Voula General Hospital in Athens, assessed 200 men and 186 women, with an average age of 61, and high blood pressure, some of whom took regular naps.

The study found that those who snoozed at noon had blood pressure measurements on average five per cent lower than those who did not nap.

Longer naps of up to an hour achieved the best results, the study found.

Dr Manolis Kallistratos, lead researcher, and cardiologist from the hospital, suggested modern lifestyles should borrow some habits form the past.

“Two influential UK Prime Ministers were supporters of the midday nap. Winston Churchill said that we must sleep sometime between lunch and dinner while Margaret Thatcher didn’t want to be disturbed at around 3:00 pm,” he said.

“According to our study they were right because midday naps seem to lower blood pressure levels and may probably also decrease the number of required antihypertensive medications.”

The heart expert said most working people found it difficult to squeeze in a nap.

“Μidday sleep is a habit that nowadays is almost a privileged due to a nine to five working culture and intense daily routine” he said.

The research found that overall, the average systolic blood pressure readings of the regular nappers were four per cent lower than the non-nappers when they were awake (5 mmHg) and 6 per cent lower while they slept at night (7 mmHg).

When hearts are healthy, blood pressure should drop at night.

The study found that those who achieved a significant drop in pressure when sleeping, had on average 17 minutes more mid-day sleep than those for whom findings remained constant.

Other measures of heart health were also superior among the group who had regular day time sleeps.

The nappers had pulse wave velocity levels” 11 per cent lower than those who stayed awake, while their left atrium diameters – which expand with age – were smaller in the napping group.

“These findings suggest that midday sleepers have less damage from high blood pressure in their arteries and heart,” said Dr Kallistratos.

The study adjusted for other factors that could influence blood pressure – such as age, gender, body mass index, smoking status, salt, alcohol, exercise and coffee drinking.

Dr Kallistratos said: “Our study shows that not only is midday sleep associated with lower blood pressure, but longer sleeps are even more beneficial.

“Midday sleepers had greater dips in blood pressure while sleeping at night which is associated with better health outcomes.

“We also found that hypertensive patients who slept at noon were under fewer antihypertensive medications compared to those who didn’t sleep midday.”

* Drinking four or more cups of coffee a day can increase the risk of heart attacks among those who already have high blood pressure, research suggests.

A 12 year study of men and women aged between 18 and 45 who had slightly raised but untreated blood pressure, found heavy coffee drinking was associated with a four-fold rise in cardiac events, including heart attacks.

Dr Lucio Mos, a cardiologist at hospital of San Daniele del Friuli in Udine, Italy, who led the study, said: “Our study shows that coffee use is linearly associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events in young adults with mild hypertension.”

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There could be a super-simple way to lose weight that doesn’t involve diet or exercise. People who drank water 3o minutes before some or all of their three meals a day lost between 5 and 9 pounds over the course of about three months. People in the water-drinking group ate fewer calories at each meal than the people in the group that didn’t change their water-drinking habits. This decrease in calories at each meal could be chalked up to the obvious: Drinking water fills up your tummy, making you feel fuller and less hungry. When you’re dehydrated, your body will often tell you you’re hungry, also people continue to eat even when they feel full.

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If you’re trying to lose weight, you’ve probably already replaced sugary drinks like soda and juice with water.

But what you might not be aware of is that drinking water before meals could be helpful for weight loss — and perhaps not just because it occupies space in your tummy.

In a small recent study, researchers at the University of Birmingham in the UK found that, on average, people who drank water 3o minutes before some or all of their three meals a day lost between 5 and 9 pounds over the course of about three months.

For their study, researchers at the University of Birmingham looked at 84 people (54 women and 30 men). The researchers don’t provide the age range for the participants in their paper, but they do say the average age of the participants was 56 years.

About half the participants drank 16 ounces (roughly two glasses) of plain, noncarbonated water 30 minutes before at least one meal a day. Some people ended up drinking water before all of their three meals a day, while others just did it for one or two.

To figure out if they were sticking with the plan, the researchers periodically surveyed the participants and monitored their urine to see how much water they were actually consuming.

The other half of the participants didn’t drink any water before their meals. Instead, to encourage them to feel like an active part of the study, they were told to picture feeling full.

Overall, both groups of study participants lost a bit of weight — between 2 and 9 pounds — over the course of the study. Researchers can’t say for sure why this happened, but several studies have found that simply being studied can have pronounced effects on behavior.

But people in the water-drinking group lost about 2.7 pounds more than the group that did not change their water-drinking habits.

How did this happen?

There are many factors that can contribute to weight loss, from an increase in exercise to a change in diet or mood.

The researchers tracked some of these factors over the course of their study, including participants’ physical activity and how many calories they ate at each meal.

They noted that there wasn’t much of a difference between the two groups in terms of how much they exercised — in fact, the group that wasn’t drinking water before meals actually worked out a little longer, on average, than the group that did drink water.

What likely contributed to the weight loss, therefore, wasn’t exercise, and it wasn’t necessarily changes in the contents of the participants’ meals. They were given general nutrition tips, but they were instructed to eat whatever they wanted.

Yet the people in the water-drinking group ate fewer calories at each meal than the people in the group that didn’t change their water-drinking habits.

The researchers think that this decrease in calories at each meal could be chalked up to the obvious: Drinking water fills up your tummy, making you feel fuller and less hungry.

But there could be other reasons as well. For one thing, when you’re dehydrated, your body will often tell you you’re hungry, so there’s a better chance of water getting into your system through the food you eat.

Considering trying the ‘diet’?

While this might have been the case for the participants in the study, other research has found that people continue to eat even when they feel full, so this might not be a foolproof plan for everyone.

Plus, the study sample included mainly white, middle-aged adults, so the “results may not be applicable to a general adult population.”

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/does-drinking-water-before-eating-help-you-lose-weight-2015-8#ixzz3kJKe9Cal