Daytime sleep has benefits for cardiovascular recovery

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Daytime sleep

Researchers say daytime sleep has cardiovascular benefits that can help with recovery from mental stress, shown by lower blood pressure. Scientists from Allegheny College in Pennsylvania conducted the study showing a 45-minute nap during the day helped study participants recover from a mental stress test better than subjects who had not slept.

Sleeping during the day helps blood pressure recovery from stress

The study was conducted to find how daytime sleep might affect cardiovascular health, given the stress experienced by large portions of the population from long work hours and shorter sleep duration that can adversely influence health long-term.

The study, performed by Ryan Brindle and Sarah Conklin, PhD is published in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine that compared a group of 85 individuals split into two groups – one was given a 60-minute daytime respite for sleep, while the other group did not sleep during the day.


For the experiment, Brindle and Conklin had the study group answer questionnaires about sleep quality and duration. The participants also underwent a mental stress test involving a subtraction exercise while the researchers measured their cardiovascular response (blood pressure and heart rate) at regular intervals.

Both groups had spikes in blood pressure and heart rate in response to mental stress, but the participants who slept during the day had lower average blood pressure readings during the recovery phase, leading the authors to conclude, “…daytime sleep may offer cardiovascular benefit by accelerating cardiovascular recovery following mental stressors.”

More research is needed to see if daytime sleep can protect from heart disease, especially for individuals with poor sleep quality. According to the CDC, insomnia and poor sleep quality is associated with significant physical and emotional health problems, loss of productivity and is underecognized as a public health problem.

The finding from the Allegheny Colleges researchers shows 45 to 60 minutes of daytime sleep has cardiovascular benefits. In the study, a daytime nap resulted in lower blood pressure among study participants exposed to mental stress.