The ONE organ responsible for high blood pressure.
Insomnia Raises Risk of High Blood Pressure
ANSWER: Research suggests that sleeping five hours or less a night can, over time, increase your risk of developing — or worsening — high blood pressure. Sleeping between five and six hours a night also may increase high blood pressure risk.
Poor Sleepers vs. Sound SleepersThe study involved 1,741 randomly selected adults living in central Pennsylvania who agreed to spend a night in a sleep laboratory. Based on their responses to questionnaires designed to assess sleep quality, more than half of the study participants were classified as being normal sleepers,8% had insomnia with symptoms persisting for at least one year, and 22% were classified as being poor sleepers who had difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or had poor-quality sleep. A little more than half of the participants slept more than six hours, which was considered normal.
The sleep assessment revealed that:
- People who slept less than five hours a night and had insomnia had the highest risk of hypertension, with a fivefold greater risk than people who slept more than six hours a night without insomnia or poor sleep.
- Those who slept five to six hours a night and had insomnia had a 3.5-fold increase in high blood pressure risk, compared to normal sleepers without insomnia or poor sleep.
- The high-blood-pressure risk among people who reported having insomnia, but slept for more than six hours during their night in the sleep laboratory, was similar to people who described themselves as normal sleepers.
Getting a Good Night's SleepSleep researcher William C. Kohler, MD, tells that he is not surprised by the findings. He points to a growing body of research linking lack of sleep to a wide range of medical conditions, including obesity in adults and children, and related diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Kohler is medical director of the Florida Sleep Institute in Spring Hill and a spokesman for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
What Kohler tells"There is more awareness about the importance of sleep to our overall health, but despite this, very few physicians adequately screen their patients for sleep problems," he says. "This should be routine." The typical adult needs about eight hours of sleep a night, but Kohler says a few people can get by on four or five hours and others need nine or 10.
- Exercise, but not just before going to bed. Studies show that exercising improves sleep, but doing it too close to bedtime can keep you awake.