According to a recent study, women who have difficulties sleeping or get insufficient sleep have a higher chance of developing hypertension. Although the reason of either high blood pressure or poor sleep is unknown, there is a strong correlation between the two. The authors of the study advise paying great attention to one’s blood pressure and treating insomnia and sleeping issues properly.
The study’s authors advise women who don’t get enough sleep to get their blood pressure checked and, if they have difficulties falling asleep, to look into solutions.
Hypertension risk is increased by sleeping troubles.
The Nurses’ Health Study 2 (NHS2) included 66,122 women, and its researchers monitored their health. The participants were between the ages of 25 and 42. All had normal blood pressure at the time of enrolment in 2001. For 16 years, the researchers monitored the individuals’ health and measured their blood pressure every two years. They noticed 25,987 additional instances of hypertension during the follow-up period. The risk of hypertension in women was found to be influenced by both insufficient sleep and difficulty falling asleep after the researchers took into account lifestyle and demographic risk variables. Women who slept for five hours or less each day had a 10% increased risk of hypertension, whereas those who slept for six hours had a 7% increased risk.
Women who slept longer than eight hours, worked night shifts, or had an evening chronotype did not have a higher risk of developing hypertension. Compared to women who rarely had difficulty sleeping, those who said they occasionally or frequently had trouble sleeping were 14% and 28% more likely to develop hypertension, respectively.
What sleep has to do with hypertension
The study did not include Dr. Nicole Weinberg, a cardiologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. She observed that it is challenging to determine whether sleep causes hypertension, whether it is the other way around, or even if they are connected at all. Which is it: the egg or the chicken? Dr. Weinberg enquired, “Like, what is the driving force here. The study’s principal investigator, Dr. Shahab Haghayegh, a Harvard research fellow and biomedical engineer, proposed a potential mechanism through which sleep can encourage hypertension.
“Sleep problems may trigger a series of actions that may raise cardiac output, arterial stiffness, and salt retention, potentially resulting in hypertension. The activity of blood vessels that control vascular tone and the function of the cells can both be affected by disruptions to the sleep/wake cycle. On the other hand, a hypothesis cited in the article proposes a counterfactual situation in which hypertension causes poor sleep. Perhaps it disrupts the 24-hour blood pressure cycle, which typically sees a reduction in blood pressure during sleep and a rise in blood pressure upon waking.
Dr. Haghayegh stressed that this is only an assumption and said, “So the difficulty in falling asleep and maintaining sleep usually occurs during the period at night when a drop in blood pressure would be expected, preventing the sleep-time dipping in blood pressure pattern.” This would result in a rise in blood pressure when you wake up at the other end of sleep. The researchers could not discover any connection between early rising and hypertension, though. Dr. Haghayegh stressed that this was just a theory and called for more research in subsequent studies.
High BMI and nutrition linked to sleep issues
The study also discovered that women who struggled to get a decent night’s sleep had higher body mass indices (BMI), took part in less physical activity, did not consume a diet rich in nutrients, and were more likely to smoke, consume alcohol, and be postmenopausal. The mystery becomes much more complicated because several of these issues include high blood pressure as a contributing factor. Dr. Haghayegh stated, “High blood pressure may be a result of poor sleep quality or duration, or both hypertension and poor sleep may be results of other underlying illnesses.
What happens when we sleep?
What happens while we sleep has long been a mystery, which is what Dr. Weinberg found to be most intriguing about the sleep problem. Dr. Weinberg gave the example of having to urinate during the middle of the night. They say, “Oddly, I didn’t have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night,” after you put a CPAP on them. She said, “It’s not like the sensation went away. Is the sensation caused by a blood pressure problem, or are there renal flow alterations that are activating these people in a way that we simply wouldn’t have recognized in the past because we simply lacked the means to obtain that information?
As a result, Dr. Weinberg is excited about the growing amount of sleep-related data that is being made available to professionals, praising the success of the Apple Watch’s sleep tracking feature in particular. They are able to understand what is happening when we are sleeping in a way that we have never, ever, ever been able to. And as a result, it’s assisting us in understanding the progression of disease. I find it incredibly fascinating,” she declared.
Identifying the root reasons of poor sleep
What he believed people should take away from the study was described by Dr. Haghayegh. “Maintain vigilance in monitoring blood pressure,” he said, “as our findings clearly demonstrate a substantial association between poor sleep and hypertension.” “Everyone is being encouraged to sort of speak up for themselves. You may genuinely think to yourself, “Maybe I have a sleep disorder,” if your sleep is not as restorative as you had hoped or is restless. Dr. Weinberg continued, “Your practitioner can then take it from there. Maybe I should be looking into that further.
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