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Less sleep linked to high blood pressure

Less sleep linked to high blood pressureNot getting enough sleep could put middle-aged adults at risk for high blood pressure that worsens over time, a recent study found.

Researchers looked at 578 people aged 33 to 45. They took blood pressure readings at the beginning of the study and five years later. In between, they measured the participants’ sleep patterns (duration and quality of sleep) over three consecutive days. During this time, patients slept an average of six hours per night. Only 1% of the participants slept for eight hours or more.  

The researchers noted that those who slept fewer than eight hours were more likely to have higher total blood pressure than those who got more rest. There was a 37% increase in the risk of developing high blood pressure for each hour of reduction in sleep duration. The study excluded patients who were taking blood pressure medication.

It is not fully understood why sleep appears to be linked to blood pressure, but these researchers want to run intervention studies to see if improving the duration and quality of sleep can actually help reduce the risk of high blood pressure or keep it from going up over time.

Learn more about High blood pressure.

Posted June 15, 2009

Source: Knutson KL, Cauter EV, Rathouz PJ, et al. Association Between Sleep and Blood Pressure in Midlife. The CARDIA Sleep Study. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(11):1055-1061.

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