Taking a break for a midday nap is good for the heart, according to research presented at the European Society of Cardiology’s annual conference last month.

The study, carried out by cardiologist Manolis Kallistratos at a hospital in Athens, Greece, examined almost 400 people with hypertension, measuring their blood pressure and their time spent sleeping during the day. Those who took noontime naps had lower blood pressure and took fewer hypertension medications than those who didn’t nap, and the results were especially positive for those who took hour-long or longer snoozes. Nappers’ average blood pressure readings were 4 percent lower when they were awake and 6 percent lower at night. 

That meant an average of 5 mmHg (millimeter of mercury, a pressure unit) lower blood pressure during the day. “Although the mean blood pressure decrease seems low, it has to be mentioned that reductions as small as 2 mmHg in systolic blood pressure can reduce the risk of cardiovascular events by up to 10 percent,” Kallistratos said in a press statement

This study doesn’t necessarily show that napping in itself lowers blood pressure. Possibly people whose daily schedules leave room for some midday shuteye also happen to live more balanced, less stressed lives. However, previous research has also found an association between napping and lower blood pressure and risk of heart attacks, so it seems the siesta lifestyle is a fairly heart-healthy one. 

[h/t: The Telegraph]