Having a sleep in the middle of the day could protect against dying from heart disease, according to a new study.
Researchers from the University of Athens medical school found that Greeks who slept for 30 minutes at least three times a week were 37 per cent less likely to die from heart disease than those who never snoozed.
Based on more than 23,000 adults, the study suggests siestas were the most beneficial to working men, who saw a 64 per cent drop in the risk of dying from heart disease. For non-working men, the risk fell by 36 per cent.
Previous studies have noted that fewer people die from heart disease in countries where naps are common, such as Mediterranean countries and parts of south and central America.
Writing in the Archives of Internal Medicine journal, the authors said: "We interpret our findings as indicating that among healthy adults, siesta, possibly on account of stress-releasing consequences, may reduce coronary mortality.
"This is an important finding because the siesta habit is common in many parts of the world, including the Mediterranean region and central America."