Getting too little sleep is linked to high blood pressure

Getting too little sleep is linked to high blood pressure

A recent study found that sleeping less than 7 hours a night is linked, over time, to an increased risk of high blood pressure. The results are being presented at the Annual Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology; they have not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal. The study’s authors accepted that no scientific proof links sleep patterns to hypertension or elevated blood pressure. They did, however, note that prior evidence of the connection has been erratic.

Data from sixteen studies conducted between January 2000 and May 2023 were examined by the researchers. The data included incidences of hypertension over follow-up periods ranging from 2 to 18 years (with a median of 5 years) in 1,044,035 individuals in six countries who did not have a history of high blood pressure. The researchers found that even after controlling for demographic and cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking, blood pressure, body mass, education, gender, and age, those who slept for shorter durations of time had a notably higher chance of developing hypertension. For individuals who slept for less than five hours, the correlation was even more pronounced.

According to the most recent data, the likelihood of developing high blood pressure in the future increases with less sleep that is, fewer than seven hours per day. Longer sleep times were associated with a higher incidence of high blood pressure, although this association was not statistically significant. According to sleep specialists, obtaining seven to eight hours of sleep per night may also be the best for your heart.

Less than seven hours of sleep was linked to a 7% higher risk of high blood pressure, according to the research team. The percentage rose to 11% when the amount of sleep was less than five hours. According to Hosseini, the team made a comparison between that and the effects of smoking and diabetes, both of which are known to raise a person’s risk of hypertension by at least 20%. Hosseini stated that although the researchers did not look into specific causes, disturbed sleep might be the cause. He said that additional variables might include alcohol consumption, night shift work, depression, anxiety, certain medication use, overeating, sleep apnea, and other lifestyle choices.

The age range of the study participants was 35–61 years old. The majority, or 61%, were women. Women who reported sleeping for less than seven hours were seven percent more likely to develop high blood pressure. Given that sleep patterns typically change as people age, the researchers were surprised that they were unable to find age-based differences in the association between sleep duration and hypertension. According to Hosseini, getting too little sleep seems to be more dangerous for women. Although we are unsure if the difference is clinically significant, it is statistically significant and merits more research. We do know that poor sleep hygiene may raise the risk of hypertension, which is known to pave the way for heart disease and stroke.

The study’s limitations, according to the team, include the fact that changes in sleep duration during the follow-up period were not evaluated because the data was self-reported. The definitions of short sleep duration (less than five or six hours) varied amongst the studies as well. According to Hosseini, more investigation is necessary to assess the relationship between prolonged sleep and elevated blood pressure through the use of more precise techniques like polysomnography, which is a means of assessing sleep quality. Additionally, the differences in reference sleep duration highlight the necessity of a standardized definition in sleep research to improve the generalizability and comparability of results across various studies.

More research is required to ascertain the reason behind women’s higher risk, according to Dr. Cheng-Han Chen, who was not involved in the study, speculated that women may have a higher stress response to sleep disruption because inadequate sleep is thought to raise stress hormones that can raise blood pressure. Susan Miller is the lead researcher and certified sleep expert, a website devoted to assisting users in achieving better sleep. Miller, who was not involved in the study, told Medical News Today that hormonal factors, especially fluctuations in estrogen levels, may be to blame for women’s higher risk. These factors may have different effects on cardiovascular health and sleep patterns.

According to her, women are more likely than men to experience sleep disturbances during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause due to hormonal changes. Women’s sleep patterns are influenced by a variety of factors, including work-related stress and caregiving responsibilities, in addition to social and environmental factors. Each of these raises the chance of developing hypertension. Chen noted that as more studies examine the consequences of poor sleep, the significance of sleep for general health is becoming more evident. He added, though, that there is still a lot we don’t know about the processes by which getting too little sleep affects our health. Maintaining a cool, dark, and quiet bedroom; abstaining from caffeine and alcohol; sleeping at roughly the same time every day; engaging in regular daytime exercise; and avoiding afternoon naps are some healthy sleep practices.

Dr. Rigved Tadwalkar, that getting enough sleep enables the body to recuperate and mend itself. According to Tadwalkar, who was not involved in the study, It also regulates hormones that influence blood pressure, inflammation, and blood sugar levels, all of which are critically important for heart health. He offered several recommendations on how people could get better sleep. Tadwalkar suggested keeping a regular sleep schedule. Observe a consistent sleep schedule to ensure a more restful night. Reliability is essential. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule that includes weekends as well as bedtimes helps to balance your internal clock and improves the quality of your sleep. He also advised avoiding the urge to oversleep by more than an hour past your usual waking time if necessary because doing so helps to maintain the stability of your sleep patterns.

Establishing a calming nighttime routine is crucial, according to Tadwalkar. Examine your pre-bedtime routines. He advised against engaging in stimulating activities like screen time right before bed. Rather, adopt soothing routines like reading a book or doing relaxation exercises to let your body know when it’s time to shut down. Optimizing your sleeping environment is also beneficial, according to Tadwalkar. To improve the sleeping environment, he suggested keeping the room cold, dark, and quiet. He also suggested adjusting the temperature and eliminating as much light and noise as you could to create the perfect atmosphere for a restful night’s sleep. Furthermore, Tadwalkar advised speaking with a healthcare provider for a more thorough assessment and tailored guidance if problems continue.

They can help determine the best course of action for treating sleep issues and help uncover any underlying causes. In particular, Tadwalkar advised consulting a physician who specializes in treating sleep disorders, or sleep medicine. Physicians who specialize in sleep medicine are qualified to perform specialized testing, create customized treatment programs, and offer advice on long-term sleep health.


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