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Daytime Sleep Offers Cardiovascular Benefits

Daytime sleep facilitates cardiovascular recovery after mental stress and improves sleep scores

FRIDAY, March 11 (HealthDay News) -- Daytime sleep may have cardiovascular benefits, including accelerated cardiovascular recovery from psychological stress, according to research published online Feb. 26 in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine.

Ryan C. Brindle and Sarah M. Conklin, Ph.D., from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa., investigated the influence of daytime sleep on cardiovascular recovery from psychological stress in 85 healthy young adults. The participants were randomly allocated into one of two groups: one group was allocated a 60-minute polysomnographically monitored sleep during the day and the other group did not sleep. Participants completed questionnaires to assess their levels of sleepiness and sleep quality. Participants completed a three-phase (baseline, stress, and recovery) cardiovascular reactivity test, and their blood pressures and pulse rates were measured during each phase.

The investigators found that participants in the sleep group had lower scores of sleepiness than those who did not sleep. Participants who had more than 45 minutes of daytime sleep had significantly lower average blood pressure readings in the recovery phase of the stress reactivity task than those who had not slept.

"These findings suggest daytime sleep may offer cardiovascular benefit in the form of greater cardiovascular recovery from psychological stress. Further research should assess daytime sleep characteristics (time of day, length, and architecture) on cardiovascular response, in an effort to better understand its role as a possible recuperative agent against suboptimal nocturnal sleep patterns," the authors write.

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