Monthly Archives

March 2024

7 Napping Tips for a Refreshing Snooze

By Health & Wellness

A power nap, a cat nap, an afternoon snooze. Whatever you call it, the concept of a nap is nothing new. But is a quick bit of shut-eye good for you? And when and how often should you take one? For National Napping Day, which we are very happy to celebrate on March 11, we talked to the experts to find out how you can set yourself up for sleepytime success.

Is it healthy to nap?

The answer depends on the person, say experts. Marjorie Ellen Soltis, a neurologist and sleep medicine specialist at Duke Health, does not consider napping every day to always be normal.

She says people who are regularly napping during the day should think about why that might be, adding they may not be getting adequate sleep at night.

Another potential reason for needing to nap all of a sudden: underlying health issues, says Sara C. Mednick, a professor of cognitive science at the University of California, Irvine.

But, says Mednick, as long as there are not underlying health issues, a nap during the day can actually be beneficial – a way to counteract the weakening of circadian rhythms that often occurs as we age.

Mednick supports a midday nap routine as a “great way to consolidate the sleepiness into one concentrated good snooze, rather than nodding off throughout the day.”

If all this talk of napping is making you want to curl up on the sofa under a warm blanket, here are tips from the experts on how to get the best and healthiest nap.

1. Personalize your nap space

Not all nappers are the same, says Soltis, so first and foremost, you need to listen to your body.

“I think sleep, in general, is the biggest victim of everybody saying here’s exactly what you need to do and how, when realistically, everyone’s a little bit different,” Soltis says.

“Some people, like Winston Churchill, need to take off all their clothes and go back to bed, while others are happy with a head-on-the-desk snooze,” Mednick says.

To read about more tips to take a restful nap and feel refreshed, from AARP, CLICK HERE.

No. 1 Exercise for Lowering Blood Pressure

By Health & Wellness

Want to lower your blood pressure? A new study pinpoints exactly what kind of exercise is best for easing blood pressure, and it doesn’t involve running on the treadmill or pumping iron at the gym.

Instead, the study reveals that static isometric exercises like wall sits (also known as wall squats) and planks — which engage muscles without movement — are best for lowering blood pressure.

The new analysis, a systematic review of 270 studies, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM), confirms that many types of exercise — including aerobic activity, weight training and high-intensity interval training – help to lower blood pressure, but it found that isometric exercises offer the biggest benefit.

Of the exercises examined, the wall sit was the most effective, the study found.

It’s long been known that physical activity has blood pressure benefits, but the review is important because doctors often recommend heart-healthy activities like walking, running and cycling as their top choices for patients with hypertension.

But isometric exercises are almost twice as effective at lowering blood pressure compared with just doing cardio, the study shows. Study author Jamie O’Driscoll, a researcher in cardiovascular physiology at Christ Canterbury Church University, says he and his colleagues launched the BJSM review because they have seen the blood pressure benefits of isometric exercise firsthand, and they wanted “to draw together the evidence for the wider audience”

“These findings provide a comprehensive data-driven framework to support the development of new exercise guideline recommendations for the prevention and treatment of arterial hypertension,” he and his coauthors wrote in the review.

To learn more about static isometric exercises, and how they are best for your blood pressure, from AARP, CLICK HERE.