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Does Less Sleep Increase Blood Pressure

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Poor Sleep And Hypertension

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Sleep is closely linked to hypertension. Even one night of poor sleep can raise your blood pressure. Sleeping less than 7 hours for a number of nights in a row can increase your blood pressure and your risk of developing hypertension. Poor sleep quality affects your blood pressure and your heart more than you realize.

If you have sleep apnea, you have an even higher risk of developing hypertension. This is because you consistently sleep poorly, and this leads to a rise in blood pressure. Sleep apnea can further increase blood pressure by restricting the flow of oxygen during sleep.

Sleeping Too Much And Heart Health

The impacts of sleep deprivation on heart health receive considerable attention, but many studies have also found associations between sleeping too much, generally defined as more than nine hours per night, and cardiovascular problems.

While more research is needed, many experts believe that underlying health conditions that cause excess sleep are also the cause of this higher rate of heart issues. Nevertheless, this data is a reminder that its a myth that more sleep is always better.

Definition Of Major Variables

After at least 5min of rest, two blood pressure measurements were made with the participants in a seated position, using appropriately sized cuffs and calibrated electronic sphygmomanometers . The mean of the two blood pressure measurements taken at 2min intervals was used in the analyses. In our study, hypertension was defined as SBP 140mm Hg or DBP 90mm Hg or the current use of anti-hypertensive medication.

Self-reported sleep duration was assessed by the following question: On average, how many hours of actual sleep did you get each day during the past month? The results were categorised into three groups for analysis: < 7 hours/day, 78 hours/day and 8hours/day, and we chose the category of 78hours/day as the reference group in accordance with a previous study.

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What Does This Mean For Insurers

It may be too soon to understand if sleep is the new blood pressure, but we know one thing is certain to get a complete picture of health, you need to account for a person’s sleep habits. As insurers look to streamline the underwriting journey and use new forms of data, more and more reach for sleep numbers because they are measurable and relatively easy to track and report.

Here are some practical considerations for incorporating sleep data into your underwriting process:

As devices and technologies continue to evolve for better tracking of sleep duration and disturbance, we can find new correlations that will help us assess risk in novel ways. Already we can begin to understand what sleep means for your heart or how it affects what you eat, for example. And sleep is just one of the “Big Six” lifestyle factors insurers can use more effectively. Incorporating multiple lifestyle factors opens the door to better, more holistic risk assessment and to longer-term support for policyholders throughout their journey to improve their health and wellbeing.

Our research is helping us understand from a scientific and medical perspective how lifestyle factors like sleep and activity levels and second-hand smoke interact with each other and with ultimate health outcomes. We are working to embed this knowledge into Life Guide, our flagship underwriting guide and philosophy.

Managing editors: Susan Imler and Corinne Kenny

How Much Sleep Do You Actually Need

Even minor sleep problems raise women

Everyone feels better after a good nights rest. But now, thanks to a report from the National Sleep Foundation, you can aim for a targeted sleep number tailored to your age.

The foundation based its report on two years of research andbreaks it down into nine age-specific categories, with a slight range thatallows for individual preference:

  • Older adults, 65+ years: 7 to 8 hours.
  • Adults, 26 to 64 years: 7 to 9 hours.
  • Young adults, 18 to 25 years: 7 to 9 hours.
  • Teenagers, 14 to 17 years: 8 to 10 hours.
  • School-age children, 6 to 13 years: 9 to 11 hours.
  • Preschool children, 3 to 5 years: 10 to 13 hours.
  • Toddlers, 1 to 2 years: 11 to 14 hours.
  • Infants, 4 to 11 months: 12 to 15 hours.
  • Newborns, 0 to 3 months: 14 to 17 hours.

Dr. Walia says theres evidence that genetic, behavioral and environmental factors help determine how much sleep an individual needs for their best health and daily performance.

But a minimum of seven hours of sleep is a step in the rightdirection to improve your health, she says.

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Fight Or Flight Response

A recent article published in the journal Hypertension examined the science-backed links between poor sleep and hypertension. It showed that short sleep duration, working a night shift and obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder that causes you to repeatedly stop and start breathing while you sleep, are all associated with risk for hypertension.

Although many studies involving hundreds of thousands of adults around the world have confirmed a link between short sleep duration and high blood pressure, its unclear why.

It may be that the body requires a long period of sleep to manage certain hormone levels that help control blood pressure. Or in the case of obstructive sleep apnea, Ms. Kampman says, repeatedly waking up may trigger a fight-or-flight response that raises the heart rate and increases blood pressure.

Normally, blood pressure decreases during sleep. One analysis, published in the journal Chest, says that when blood pressure does not dip enough or fails to dip due to short sleep duration or interrupted sleep, cardiovascular risk increases.

The analysis says many diseases in addition to hypertension are linked with this reduced dipping or non-dipping blood pressure during sleep, such as chronic kidney disease, diabetes, resistant hypertension and obstructive sleep apnea.

In any case, the evidence suggests that regularly sleeping fewer than seven to nine hours a night raises the risk for developing hypertension and other risk factors for heart disease.

What Is High Blood Pressure


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There is too much sodium in our food supply, we are not getting enough physical activity, we are gaining too much weight, and we are drinking too much alcohol, and every single one of those things contributes to increasing blood pressure levels, Lloyd-Jones says.

To stay on top of your blood pressure, take your measurements often and understand where you are on the spectrum, Lloyd-Jones says. You can do this at home with a cuff-style biceps monitor. If you notice your blood pressure is starting to increase or if its already elevated , its important to be careful around the foods and habits that can make it worse, Lloyd-Jones adds. Its also important to work with a doctor to find the best way to control it, be it with medications, lifestyle changes or both.

Home blood pressure monitoring is a really important and empowering way for patients to take control of this, Lloyd-Jones says.

Rachel Nania writes about health care and health policy for AARP. Previously, she was a reporter and editor for WTOP Radio in Washington, D.C. A recipient of a Gracie Award and a regional Edward R. Murrow Award, she also participated in a dementia fellowship with the National Press Foundation.

More on Blood Pressure

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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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What Can I Do To Get Better Sleep

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) – Causes, Types, Risk Factors, Signs & Symptoms, Treatment
  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends.
  • Get enough natural light, especially earlier in the day. Try going for a morning or lunchtime walk.
  • Get enough physical activity during the day. Try not to exercise within a few hours of bedtime.
  • Avoid artificial light, especially within a few hours of bedtime. Use a blue light filter on your computer or smartphone.
  • Dont eat or drink within a few hours of bedtime avoid alcohol and foods high in fat or sugar in particular.
  • Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet.

Work with your health care team to identify obstacles to good sleep, including other medical conditions.

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Tips For Reducing Blood Pressure

Reducing your blood pressure can help you sleep. It also alleviates a significant amount of strain from your heart and reduces your likelihood of other health complications. Before taking a high blood pressure medication, ask your doctor if you can treat your condition naturally. There are many proven remedies for lowering blood pressure that do not involve a prescription drug. Simple changes to your lifestyle can do the trick. Here are a few that work, according to the Mayo Clinic :

What Causes High Blood Pressure At Night

While poor sleep is associated with higher blood pressure and blood pressure spikes, it goes the other way too: people with high blood pressure may be more prone to chronic anxiety, which can in turn play a role in poor sleep. Thats why Im so serious about treating not just the body but also the mind, and urge clients to get their racing thoughts under control by using a scientifically designed cooling headband like Ebb Precision Cool to relax at night.

But having high blood pressure only at night, or experiencing high blood pressure spikes at night could point to something more specific. High blood pressure at night, many experts believe, points to signs of a specific sleep disorder.

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Avoid Screen Light At The End Of The Day

Theres little doubt that our ever-growing use of screens is affecting our health and our sleep. Experts surmise that the artificial blue-light emitted by screens negatively affects our sleep hormones.

In fact, a 2017 study found that both light intensity and wavelength altered normal body changes that typically induce sleep . These changes both disturbed sleep and morning alertness .

How Does Sleep Affect Your Heart Health

Lack of sleep can cause high blood pressure

Getting good sleep isnt just important for your energy levelsits critical for your heart health, too. Learn how sleep is connected to heart health.

Sleep is not a luxury. It is critical to good health. Sleep helps your body repair itself. Getting enough good sleep also helps you function normally during the day.

Get enough sleep. Most adults need at least 7 hours of sleep each night.1

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Eat The Right Foods To Lower Blood Pressure

A healthy, balanced diet decreases the risks of developing hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.

The Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension, also known as the DASH diet, was introduced in 1997 to offer a non-pharmacological treatment for high blood pressure.

Researchers have proven that the DASH diet is highly effective in reducing high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Complete control of high blood pressure can be achieved without using any medicine, by combining the DASH diet with low salt intake, weight loss, and regular exercise .

The DASH diet alone can reduce blood pressure by 6-11 mmHg.

It is also very useful when used as an adjuvant to drug therapy.

Another important aspect of the DASH diet is that its blood pressure reduction is more pronounced in hypertensive patients than in normal individuals.

The DASH diet is high in fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and dairy products.

It is low in sodium, saturated fats, and cholesterol.

The DASH diet recommends five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, seven servings of carbohydrates, and 2 to 3 servings of nuts and seeds .

Another important aspect of the DASH diet is that it provides all the nutrients necessary for growth and development.


Carbohydrates are an important source of energy and micronutrients.

DASH recommends the consumption of healthy carbohydrates, like broccoli, spinach, kale, and mustard leaves.

Whole grains, including oats, wheat, millet, legumes, and beans, are also recommended.

Poor Sleep May Raise Blood Pressure

Study Shows Men Who Don’t Get Enough Deep Sleep May Have Higher Blood Pressure

Aug. 29, 2011 — Not getting enough deep sleep may raise your blood pressure.

A new study shows men who got the least deep sleep were 80% more likely to develop high blood pressure than those who got the most.

Researchers determined how much deep sleep the men got by measuring the speed of their brain waves. People with poor-quality sleep spend a lot of time in “slow wave” sleep.

It’s the first study to show that poor sleep quality independently raises the risk of high blood pressure, regardless of sleep duration or other sleep issues.

Previous studies have already linked sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea and sleep-disordered breathing to an increased risk of high blood pressure.

Researchers say the results suggest the sleep quality is the third pillar of overall health. “People should recognize that sleep, diet and physical activity are critical to health, including heart health and optimal blood pressure control,” says researcher Susan Redline, MD, in a news release.

Redline is a professor of sleep medicine at the Harvard School of Medicine. She says poor sleep may be a predictor of poor health.

The study is published in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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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.

How To Combat Hypertension With Sleep

16 Surprising Things That Raise Your Blood Pressure

There is good news if you are battling hypertension. Symptoms can be caught quickly with regular physicals. The treatment for high blood pressure is manageable. Simple changes to diet, exercise and sleeping habits can make a huge difference in your life.

If you have a history of high blood pressure in your family, it is a good idea to keep up with regular check ups because hypertension is hereditary. Catching it earlier will lower your risk of bigger issues down the line.

While diet and exercise are extremely important to treating hypertension, sleep is a daily activity that most neglect in their treatment plan. By changing how you sleep and what you sleep on, you can greatly impact your blood pressure.

Choose a Comfortable Mattress

If you feel groggy and in pain in the morning, it may be a sign that it is time to upgrade your mattress. Traditional innerspring mattresses typically start becoming less comfortable around the eighth year of use. If youre over that amount of time, you might be sleeping poorly and not even realizing it because youve become accustomed to how youre sleeping now.

Choose the best mattress for your sleeping style to make sure you are as comfortable as possible as you sleep. Less tossing and turning in the middle of the night means more time getting good, restful sleep. Your body will rejuvenate from the days work and stress as well as allow you to sleep longer through the night without interruption.

Practice Healthy Sleeping Habits

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Obesity And Insulin Resistance

OSA, hypertension, obesity, and insulin resistance share a complex relationship in which all four factors influence and exacerbate one another.Obesity predisposes people to OSA. Obesity also increases a persons risk of developing high blood pressure. Research suggests that when a person has both OSA and excess weight, the two conditions may affect one another in ways that impair cardiovascular health. For example, OSA and obesity both cause elevated levels of leptin in the blood. Leptin is a hormone that promotes hunger, which can further contribute to weight gain. Leptin also stresses the cardiovascular system and may promote the development of hypertension.

People with insulin resistance require higher and higher levels of the hormone insulin to be able to use a type of sugar in the blood called glucose for energy. Over time, insulin resistance can result in uncontrolled glucose levels in the blood and the development of diabetes. Obesity is a known cause of insulin resistance. Recent studies have shown that OSA is also a cause of insulin resistance, regardless of ones weight. High blood pressure is yet another risk factor for insulin resistance. Because insulin resistance is an activator of the sympathetic nervous system, it may cause or worsen high blood pressure as well.

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