The Excuse We've All Been Looking For: A nap a day keeps stress at bay
It seems that napping may do more than just reboot our energy levels and improve our mood.
Brand new research has found that people who took advantage of a midday snooze were more likely to have a noticeable drop in stress levels compared with those who didn't nap
In more detail, “this study shows that taking a midday nap was associated with an average 5 mmHg fall in systolic blood pressure compared with those who did not take a nap. And, for every 60 minutes of midday sleep, average blood pressure across a 24-hour period decreased by 3 mmHg. While this may not sound like much, a reduction in average blood pressure of just 2 mmHg can reduce your risk of a heart attack by as much as 10%,” explains Dr Sarah Brewer, working in association with the type 2 diabetes supplement, CuraLin (www.curalife.co)
If you’re blood pressure is a concern our experts are here to help with other simple ways that you can help lower your blood pressure…
The importance of a good night’s sleep
Naps are great as long you’re also having good nights sleep. “The average adult needs 7 hours and 12 minutes sleep per night. Studies have shown that women getting 5 or fewer hours of sleep per night are 68% more likely to develop high blood pressure than those who get at least 7 hours sleep per night. Among men, similar sleep deprivation increases the risk of hypertension by 30%,” explains Dr Sarah Brewer, working in association with the type 2 diabetes supplement, CuraLin (www.curalife.co)
Struggling to drift off? It’s all well and good telling everyone to have a nap and a good night’s sleep, but in reality it’s not always that simple. “CBD oil improves sleep quality, helps us to unwind and stops the overthinking that may occur in the early hours of the morning. Insomniacs find it helpful and as a natural analgesic or pain relieving agent it supports people in pain to sleep better,” explains Nutritionist Alix Woods working in association with the CBD oil, CannabiGold (www.cannabigold.com). Try dispensing a controlled amount of Cannabigold classic 500MG CBD oil (£29.90, www.bionativa.co.uk). Capsules have a slower delivery action and can take up to 20 minutes to reach the desired outcome. However, drops pass directly through the mucous membranes of the mouth, allowing direct circulation into the blood stream and the effect is almost immediate.
How much alcohol are you drinking?
Without sounding too preachy are you drinking every day? It’s very easy to let alcohol creep into everyday life. “If you are having more than 1 drink per day as a woman or more than 2 drinks per day as a man, this may have a negative impact on your blood pressure,” explains Nutritionist Cassandra Barns.
Top suggestions: “We don’t have to go cold turkey to reap benefits. Make spritzers - Ask for tonic water and add to your wine to make a spritzer. This will dilute the alcohol content and will help you to consume less or simply choose small glasses. The larger the glass the more we tend to pour and drink. In restaurants always ask for a small glass to help with portion control,” explains London’s Leading Nutrtionist Lily Soutter (www.lilysoutternutrition.com).
Watch out for Salt
“A diet high in salt and low in vegetables may lead to an increase in blood pressure. Sodium and potassium imbalance has negative impact on the blood pressure,” explains Nutritionist Cassandra Barns.
Way to reduce your salt intake according to the UK’s Leading Nutritionist, Dr Marilyn Glenville (www.marilynglenville.com);
"Choose more freshly prepared foods so that you are aware of all the ingredients"
"Use herbs, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, lemon juice and other spices in cooking to add flavour"
"Read labels carefully for hidden salt"
"Avoid or cut right down on sugar added at the table or in cooking"
"Avoid convenience or prepared foods with a high salt content - the food should not contain more than 1.25g of salt per 100g."
For more information, Natural Alternatives to Dieting (£9.97, Amazon) reveals a way of eating that becomes a way of life.
How are you stress levels?
Stress is another major contributing factor to high blood pressure. “Even occasional bursts of stress will impact your blood pressure. If you are constantly stressed that will have an on going impact on your blood pressure. Try to think about all the stress factors in your life. Write a list and consider which of those stressors you can change or do something about. Recognise your stress triggers. Try to do some yoga or other relaxing exercises you enjoy. It may be as simple as having a relaxing bath, or going for a lovely walk, reading a book, or listening to some music. Anything you enjoy that takes your mind off your day-to-day stress” explains Cassandra Barns.
Nutrients to help Keep homocysteine in the normal range
High blood pressure can contribute to cardiovascular disease - A disease that kills more than 1 in 4 people in the UK and 420 people everyday. “Good dietary and lifestyle advice are important for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and certain nutrients have been shown to be helpful. High levels of homocysteine in the blood have been shown to increase the risk of damaging the lining of the arteries and this can contribute to heart disease and stroke. It is important to have good levels of the three B vitamins, vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid in order to keep homocysteine in the normal range. Try the new NHP Cardio Support (RRP £25.77, www.naturalhealthpractice.com) - a unique combination of 19 specially selected nutrients and botanicals to help support healthy heart function and circulation,” explains Marilyn Glenville.