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Sleep Troubles Can Raise Your Blood Pressure: Study
  • Posted March 27, 2024

Sleep Troubles Can Raise Your Blood Pressure: Study

A major review of data confirms that getting less than the recommended amount of sleep each night is a risk factor for high blood pressure.

Data collected in 16 studies conducted from 2000 through 2023, involving over 1 million people in six countries, revealed a 7% rise in the risk for hypertension among folks who got less than seven hours of slumber each night.

People who got an average of five hours of sleep per night saw their risk for high blood pressure rise by 11%, compared to people who got the recommended seven or eight hours, said a team from the Tehran Heart Center in Iran.

“Based on the most updated data, the less you sleep--that is less than seven hours a day--the more likely you will develop high blood pressure in the future,” said study lead author Dr. Kaveh Hosseini, an assistant professor of cardiology at the center. “We saw a trend between longer sleep durations and a greater occurrence of high blood pressure, but it was not statistically significant. Getting seven to eight hours of sleep, as is recommended by sleep experts, may be the best for your heart, too.”

His team will present its findings April 7 at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology in Atlanta.

The sleep and heart health of people who were involved in the 16 studies were tracked for a median of five years (anywhere from 2.4 to 18 years, depending on the study). The findings were adjusted for other heart risk factors, such as age, sex, education, weight and whether or not people smoked.

The deleterious effect of short sleep on blood pressure appeared to differ slightly between the sexes.

“Getting too little sleep appears to be riskier in females,” Hosseini noted in a meeting news release. “The difference is statistically significant, though we are not sure it's clinically significant and should be further studied. What we do see is that lack of good sleep patterns may increase the risk of high blood pressure, which we know can set the stage for heart disease and stroke.”

The exact reasons linking poor sleep to heart risks aren't clear. But Hosseini's team believe that many factors could be at play, including overeating, alcohol use, nightshift work, certain medication use, anxiety, depression, sleep apnea or other sleep disorders.

Sleep apnea, especially, is a known risk factor for heart issues, and Hosseini advised folks with poor sleep to try and get evaluated for sleep apnea.

Because these finding are presented at a medical meeting, they should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

Find out more about sleep apnea at the Mayo Clinic.

SOURCE: American College of Cardiology, news release, March 27, 2024

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