Sleep & Your Blood Pressure
Researchers at the University of Arizona found a link between getting a bad night’s sleep and increased blood pressure in a study that included 300 men and women between the ages of 21 and 70. None had a history of heart problems. For two days the study participants wore portable blood pressure cuffs that took their blood pressure randomly. They also wore actigraphy monitors, devices that look like wrist watches and measure movement during sleep. Findings showed that participants who didn’t sleep well showed increases in blood pressure during the night and higher systolic blood pressure (the top number) the next day. The investigators wrote that the connection between poor sleep and increased blood pressure helps explain why sleep problems appear to increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes and even death from cardiovascular disease. They added that more research is needed to reveal why poor sleep raises blood pressure and what it could mean long-term for people who have chronic insomnia.
My take? Normal blood pressure is defined as less than 120 over less than 80. Blood pressure changes regularly throughout the day; it is lowest during sleep and increases upon waking. It also goes up when a person is excited, nervous or active. In addition to increases in blood pressure not getting enough sleep has been linked to a surprising number of health problems including diabetes, heart disease, stroke and even weight gain. If you have trouble sleeping, try mantram, the practice of repeating over and over in the mind certain syllables, words or phrases that help unify consciousness and counteract negative mental states. It is especially helpful for people with restless minds or for those whose turbulent thoughts keep them from relaxing and falling asleep.
Learn more: How To Get Deep Sleep Naturally
Caroline Y. Doyle et al, “Associations Between Objective Sleep and Ambulatory Blood Pressure in a Community Sample.” Psychosomatic Medicine, June 4, 2019, DOI: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000711
More from this week’s bulletin:
- Body Shape & Heart Disease
- Reducing Menstrual Pain
- A Recipe For A Summer Potluck: French Bean Salad