New York: Sleeping a little over half an hour in the middle of the day may reduce the risk of death from heart disease, particularly in healthy young men, say researchers.
Naps known as siesta are often taken early afternoon after a midday meal. Such a period of sleep is a common tradition in hot countries.
Dimitrios Trichopoulos from the Harvard School of Public Health and other researchers looked at 23,681 men and women aged between 20 and 86 who did not have a history of heart disease or any other severe condition, reported the online edition of BBC News.
The six-year Greek study took into account ill health, age, and whether people were physically active.
Participants were also asked if they took midday naps and how often, and were asked about dietary habits and physical activity.
The researchers found those who took naps of any frequency and duration had a 34 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease than those who did not take midday naps.
Those who took naps of more than 30 minutes three or more times a week had a 37 percent lower risk.
Among working men who took midday naps, there was a 64 percent reduced risk of death compared with a 36 percent reduced risk among non-working men.
Experts said napping during afternoon might help people to relax, reducing their stress levels.
The researchers added that if backed by other trials, taking a siesta would be an interesting way of reducing heart disease, as it had no side effects.
The only important factor was that people should not reduce the amount of physical activity they did in the rest of the day.