Can Sleep Quality Impact Your Blood Pressure
Could poor sleep or not enough sleep lead to an increase in your blood pressure ? Its not fully understood how and why, but its thought that sleep helps regulate stress hormones and helps your nervous system to remain healthy. Over time, lack of sleep could hurt your bodys ability to regulate stress hormones, leading to high blood pressure .1
Dr. Michael Grandner, Director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona, says, Hypertension is a key cardiovascular risk factor. There are now many studies that have been able to show that insufficient sleep and poor sleep quality are related to the development of high blood pressure and other aspects of heart disease. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. Those with this disorder have been found to be at higher risk of hypertension.2
We reached out to Dr. Andrew Sherwood, Professor of Behavioral Medicine at Duke University Medical Center, to better understand how sleep and blood pressure might be related. The following is an excerpt from our conversation with him.
What links are there, if any, between high BP and a lack of quality sleep?
At what point does lack of sleep lead to an increase of BP in an individual?
What number of hours of sleep are considered ideal for good heart health?
We thank Dr. Sherwood for those very insightful answers to our questions.
Sleep and Blood Pressure
10 Practical Tips for a Good Nights Sleep
Does Lack Of Sleep Cause High Blood Pressure Get To Know Here
According to recent studies, sleep deprivation is believed to be one of the causes of high blood pressure. Let us know more on the exact relation between the two.
According to recent studies, sleep deprivation is believed to be one of the causes of high blood pressure. Let us know more on the exact relation between the two.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a condition caused when the pressure exerted by blood on the wall of arteries, rises above normal. The normal blood pressure should be 120/80 mm Hg. When the pressure rises to 140/90 mm Hg or more, the person is said to be suffering from high blood pressure. Earlier this condition was found only in older adults , however, due to the modern-day stressful lifestyle, this condition is found even in younger adults. There are several causes of high blood pressure. According to recent studies, lack of sleep has also been linked to hypertension. But, how exactly does lack of sleep cause hypertension or high blood pressure? Let us find an answer to the query in detail.
Sleep And Blood Pressure
During normal, healthy sleep, blood pressure drops by around 10-20%. This is known as nocturnal dipping, and research highlights its role in cardiovascular health.
Poor sleep, whether from a lack of sleep or sleep disruptions, is associated with non-dipping, meaning that a persons blood pressure doesnt go down at night. Studies have found that elevated nighttime blood pressure is tied to overall hypertension .
In fact, nocturnal blood pressure has been found to be even more predictive of heart problems than high blood pressure during the day. Non-dipping has been tied to an increased risk of stroke and heart attack. Its also been linked to kidney problems and reduced blood flow to the brain.
Raised daytime blood pressure has been identified as a consequence of sleep deprivation in multiple studies, but it doesnt affect all people equally. The link between lack of sleep and high blood pressure is highest in middle-aged adults. People who work long hours in high-stress jobs and people with other risk factors for hypertension are more likely to have raised blood pressure after chronic poor sleep.
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When We Sleep And Its Effects On Blood Pressure
Our body clocks, over millennia, are programmed for sleeping at night, during hours of darkness. However, our society and working culture tends to place different demands on us, such that many of us now find it difficult to go to bed after sunset and wake with the dawn.
Having a good power nap during the day can certainly help, but napping or sleeping at other times isnt enough to compensate for lack of sleep at night.
Shift workers are most obviously affected, but any of us who find ourselves too busy or stressed to unwind and get a good nights sleep are potentially placing a great strain on our body.
In fact, scientists are becoming extremely concerned with the increasing restrictions on sleep that modern society places on us, and the effects of sleep on blood pressure that result.
Scientists from Harvard University in the US, and Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester and Surrey Universities in the UK recently went so far as to warn that our society is supremely arrogant when it comes to dismissing the importance of sleep.
Sleep Problems That Affect Blood Pressure
Several types of sleep issues can cause hypertension or make it harder to control. The most common sleep problems that affect blood pressure include:
- Insomnia: the inability to fall asleep, stay asleep, and get restorative sleep may contribute to hypertension
- Obstructive sleep apnea : intermittent episodes of halted breathing during sleep correlate highly with hypertension
- Restless leg syndrome : some relationship between RLS and high blood pressure may exist, though the data conflict
- Sleep deprivation: getting fewer than six hours of sleep per night correlates with an increased risk of developing high blood pressure
The link between clinical , RLS, and hypertension remains unproven. But if you have been diagnosed with hypertension and OSA, or if you have and experience sleep deprivation, you can take steps to address these underlying issues to perhaps help you control your blood pressure better.
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Eating Healthy And Smart
Sleep isnt a luxury its a necessity you cant do without. Adequate sleep goes hand in hand with a healthy diet and regular exercise to control blood pressure. It might take time and effort to make the changes that can improve your sleep and lower your blood pressure, but the health benefits are definitely worth it.
How Does Sleep Affect Your Mental Health
While sleeping, your brain activity fluctuates and can increase and decrease during different stages that make up your sleep cycle. Every stage of your sleep cycle plays a role in your brain’s health, allows different brain parts to ramp up and down, and enables better thinking, learning, and memory. Research has also proven that brain activity during sleep also has effects on your mental and emotional health.
Getting enough sleep each night allows your brain to process emotional information. During sleep, the brain will evaluate and remember thoughts and memories, and it appears that a lack of sleep can affect your positive emotional content. This can cause moodiness and emotional reaction and is also tied to mental health disorders.
When it comes to not getting enough sleep each night, you can also develop psychological effects of sleep deprivation, including losing attention and concentration. Take a baby who does not get a nap – they often get cranky and whine. Adults are the same sleep deprivation can cause adults to get cranky, and your emotions can become out of control, such as your fear and anxiety. It can also trigger depression and suicidal tendencies in some.
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Does Sleep Deprivation Affect Heart Health
Substantial evidence demonstrates that sleeping problems, including sleep deprivation and fragmented sleep, have negative effects on heart health.
Sleep is an essential time for the body to recuperate. During the non-rapid eye movement sleep stages, heart rate slows, blood pressure drops, and breathing stabilizes. These changes reduce stress on the heart, allowing it to recover from strain that occurs during waking hours.
Without sufficient nightly sleep, a person doesnt spend enough time in the deep stages of NREM sleep that benefit the heart. The same problem can affect people whose sleep is frequently interrupted.
As a result, chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to numerous heart problems including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attack, obesity, diabetes, and stroke.
Osa And Prevalence Of Hypertension
OSA and hypertension commonly coexist. Approximately 50% of patients with OSA are hypertensive, and an estimated 30% to 40% of patients with hypertension have OSA.- Cross-sectional studies have been consistent in demonstrating that moderate-severe OSA is significantly associated with risk of having arterial hypertension. In general, there is a linear relationship between AHI and prevalence and severity of hypertension, that is, the more severe the OSA, the higher the risk of hypertension of increasing severity.
In a study of 1,741 subjects aged 20 to 100 years, Bixler et al found that an AHI 15 was significantly associated with hypertension risk however, the strength of this association decreased with age. Another study of 2,148 subjects aged 30 to 70 years and with an AHI 15 had an OR for hypertension risk of 2.28 , after adjusting for confounders such as BMI, neck circumference, and alcohol use. In this analysis, an increase in the AHI of 5 events/h increased the risk of having hypertension by 1.25%. In the Sleep Heart Health Study, which included 6,123 subjects aged > 40 years, an AHI 30 compared with < 1.5 was associated with an OR for prevalent hypertension of 1.37 . These data demonstrate that the presence of moderate-severe OSA is positively related to both the prevalence and the severity of hypertension.
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How Can I Stop Sleeping So Much
If you think you are getting too much sleep each night, you might be looking for ways to stop. Suppose you suffer from a medical condition or other reasons for excessive sleeping, such as sleep apnea, diabetes, obesity, headaches, or chronic pain. In that case, you may want to speak to your doctor about ways to improve your sleep habits. If oversleeping is caused by alcohol or medications, you may want to cut back on these. As always, practicing good sleep hygiene can also help your sleep habits. Such as going to bed at the same time each night, waking up at the same time, avoiding naps during the day, and avoiding caffeine and exercise before bed, as we mentioned above.
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What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea is a condition which interrupts sleep because it causes difficulty breathing.
With OSA, the walls of the throat relax during sleep, blocking your airways so you cant breathe for a short period of time. The lack of oxygen wakes you up or brings you into a lighter sleep so that your airways can open up and your breathing can return to normal. These episodes can happen throughout the night, affecting your sleep.
People with OSA are more likely to develop high blood pressure its estimated that half of people with OSA have high blood pressure. It also means youre more likely to develop , , a or a .
What causes OSA?OSA is most common in people who are very overweight as this can put a strain on the throat muscles. Its more common in men than women and tends to affect people over 40. Your lifestyle, any medicines youre taking and your genes can all play a role too.
if you need to, and can all help to lower your risk of developing OSA.
Treating OSAThe signs and symptoms of OSA can include snoring and laboured breathing, as well as interrupted breathing and gasping for breath. You might not know you have it its often noticed by a partner. Visit your GP if you think you might have OSA as it can be treated.
Find out more from NHS Choices.
Should I Talk To My Doctor About Sleep Apnea
If you have high blood pressure and are concerned about whether you might also have sleep apnea, speak with a doctor. Diagnosis is the first step to accessing effective treatments for OSA that may improve your sleep and blood pressure. Consider whether any of the following symptoms apply to you:
- Daytime sleepiness
- Difficulty with attention and memory
- Headaches in the morning
- Dry mouth when waking up
- Irritability, anxiety, or depression
Sleep apnea is often not recognized by the affected individual. In many cases, a bed partner notices nighttime symptoms of OSA, which prompts a visit to the doctor. If you share a bedroom or home with someone else, ask if they have noticed you exhibiting any of these signs while you are sleeping:
- Loud snoring
- Choking or gasping during sleep
- Pauses in breathing during sleep
Experiencing one or more of these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have sleep apnea, but it is a good reason to bring up sleep with your doctor.
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Sleep Duration And Risk For All Cause Mortality
Several studies have shown that both short and long sleep duration are associated with negative health outcomes, as well as all-cause mortality. Two recent meta-analyses of population based studies examining the relationship between sleep duration and all cause mortality reported a 10% and 12% increased all-cause-mortality in individuals with habitual short sleep duration and , respectively). These same two meta-analyses found increased mortality associated with long sleep 23% and 30%, respectively. Long sleep and all-cause mortality relationships were found to be stronger in older than younger cohorts, and co-morbidities are likely to play a role in these associations. While the relationship between short sleep duration and mortality may seem modest, it translates to large numbers of deaths, worldwide. Understanding the causal pathways of these relationships will require more prospective research and sophisticated modeling methods applied to population data, and highly controlled research designed to elucidate mechanisms .
How Much Sleep Do I Need
Most adults need at least 7 hours of sleep each night.1 However, more than 1 in 3 American adults say they dont get the recommended amount of sleep.2 While this may be fine for a day or two, not getting enough sleep over time can lead to serious health problemsand make certain health problems worse.
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How To Sleep When Stressed Or Anxious
If you feel stressed and anxious, the last thing you want to do is stay up all night tossing and turning. This will only make your mood worse and make you feel as so. It is crucial you know the importance of good sleep habits and how to achieve them. If you feel stressed or even anxious, you can try taking a warm bath to calm down.
You can also try some deep breathing techniques and even read a book to calm your mind. For long-term goals, you should try to get on a sleep schedule that includes going to bed and waking up simultaneously. You need to speak to your doctor about medications if you think they are a contributing factor. Another great tip is if you are a smoker or drink alcohol to cut back or stop entirely, as this can also affect your anxiety and lead to more sleepless nights.
Physical Effects Of A Bad Nights Sleep
But even a few missed nights of sleep can take a physical toll on your body, Dr. Gurevich says. Lack of sleep causes an increase in stress hormones, he explains. That triggers your resting heart rate and blood pressure to increase.
Those changes arent usually worrisome if they happen occasionally. The body and brain recuperate quite well from one or two sleepless nights, says Dr. Gurevich. But if it stretches into a month or more, that can have lasting impacts on your heart health, mental health and cognitive abilities.
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Practicing Good Sleep Hygiene Can Improve Glycemic Control
The best thing you can do to keep your blood sugar levels within a steady range is to establish a routine for your diet, exercise, and sleep patterns. If you find yourself having trouble sleeping, consider your sleep hygiene practices. The following tips can help you get a better night of sleep and thus experience improved glycemic control:
If you have tried improving your sleep hygiene but still have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or feeling well rested in the morning, a sleep disorder may be to blame.
Visiting a sleep specialist is the best way to ensure that your sleep problems do not go undetected. This is particularly important for people with diabetes or prediabetes, as getting a good night of rest is essential to metabolic functioning, proper endocrine system regulation, and good glycemic control.
Make an appointment with your Seattle sleep specialist for an accurate diagnosis and to understand how sleep may impact your medical health. Call Sound Sleep Health at 279-7151 today!