Can Lack Of Sleep Cause Hypertension?

October 1, 2012  |  sleep and health, sleep problems

You are probably acquainted with the feeling of little to no sleep. You have to peel your eyes to keep them open. You move sluggishly and would readily snap at anyone who would ask simple questions.

Some may think that the remedy is simply to sleep more in the future or make up for it by sleeping for more than the usual the following night. What they do not know though, is that they are setting themselves up as possible candidates of high blood pressure.

Who Is At Risk?

Studies have shown that the less you sleep, the higher your risk is for high blood pressure. If you have been sleeping for less than five hours on a regular basis, then you should really consider changing your sleeping pattern. If you are sleeping for at least six hours or less, the risk may be a little lesser – but it is still there. If you already have high blood pressure, a regular lack of sleep can definitely worsen your condition.

Why Does Lack of Sleep Cause Hypertension?

Studies have shown the relationship between lack of sleep and hypertension. The American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure Research 2012 Scientific Sessions for example released a study which said that people who did not experience enough sleep (at least 7-8 hours, for adults) at night may have serious repercussions on their health. Some of these adults who do not get enough sleep may have high blood pressure, and in the long run, may develop to resistant hypertension.

Another study from Harvard Medical School shows that people who had enough deep sleep at night had better heart health than those who had light sleep. Some people can sleep for several hours a night but not achieve adequate deep sleep, leaving them tired in the morning.

Deep sleep – also known as slow wave sleep – is the time when the electrical activity of the brain slows down. This usually happens several hours into the night or early in the morning and makes the person feel rested in the morning. During this time, the person’s heart rate, blood pressure and adrenaline levels also lower, promoting better heart health. Lack of hours at night or poor quality sleep usually means that a person does not achieve enough deep sleep. When blood pressure does not fall at night, it causes a condition called “nondipping,” which can increase the risk of heart disease.

Lack of Sleep And Secondary Factors

Aside from that, lack of sleep also causes secondary health problems, which may also play a role for high blood pressure. For example, people with less sleep at night are more prone to stress or depression. They may also end up making bad food choices and may not have the energy to exercise during the day. These things can also add to the condition.

Sleep For Your Health

It is good to note that hypertension is very rampant worldwide. It can lead to serious complications like cardiac arrest, strokes and heart attacks, which are very fatal. Hypertension involves numerous factors that you cannot control like gender, genetics and age. However, there are things that you can take into your own hands, such as healthy lifestyle, stress, exercise and sleep. Thus, it is important that you take control of these factors.

Be sure to eat well, exercise well, de-stress regularly and get enough sleep at night to help reduce your risk of developing hypertension.


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