Poor Sleep Quality Linked to Increased Blood Pressure

Poor sleep quality linked to higher blood pressure in elderly men.

sleep important as pre diabetes diet and exercise lifestyleI have posted on a number of occasions about the importance of proper sleep. This is another lifestyle area that has changed dramatically in recent years due to the ongoing evolution of Internet technology and the “flattening of the world” where someone is always awake somewhere, and they may be effectively communicated with in real time.

This cultural shift may put some at risk of high blood pressure by negatively impacting sleep habits and rhythm. A study, published in the journal Hypertension (August 2011), supports other research linking sleep problems with an increased risk of obesity and cardiovascular problems among others. This current study found that older men who had less “deep sleep” known as slow-wave sleep had a higher risk of high blood pressure.

The men with the lowest level of the deeper slow-wave sleep stage, had an 80% higher chance of developing high blood pressure than men with the highest level of this restorative deep sleep stage.

The researchers initially evaluated 784 men, average age 75, who were part of the Outcomes of Sleep Disorders in Older Men Study. In 2003-05, the men did not have high blood pressure, and when they returned for a follow up in 2007-09, the researchers found that 243 of the men had developed high blood pressure.

The researchers divided the men into four groups, from those with the lowest amount of slow-wave sleep to the highest. They took age, race, body mass index and other factors into account, and the link between low deep slow-wave sleep and higher blood pressure held. Even when the researchers factored in sleep-disordered breathing and the length of overall sleep, the correlation held.

Most people know that so many hours of sleep are needed for health, but sleep quality is also important. How is your sleep quality? Do you have a medical problem that is impacting your ability to obtain qualtiy sleep. I see a lot of patients with restless leg syndrome and painful diabetic nerve damage in the feet and legs that wake them up repeatedly throughout the night. I have also posted on the potential health consequences of the impact of arthritis on sleep. Those that are overweight are more prone to breathing problems that can significantly impact sleep quality and your overall health.

Another study that looked at sleep-time blood pressure concluded that the reduction in blood pressure during sleep is the “most significant prognostic marker of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.” Try to develop healthy sleep habits so your blood pressure may properly decrease while you sleep.  Address medical problems, including elevated BMI, that may be impacting your sleep quality and quantity. One simple bit of advice is to make the bedroom as dark as you can during sleep hours.

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About Robert Creighton

Dr. Creighton is a podiatrist and foot surgeon with over 26 years in podiatric practice treating thousands of patients afflicted with the physiological, physical, and psychological side effects and complications of diabetes and pre-diabetes metabolic syndrome. He believes these disorders present a pressing public health concern that need to be more actively addressed in a multidisciplinary way. Dr. Creighton graduated from what is now the Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine after receiving his undergraduate degree in Biology. He is certified by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery, a member of the American Public Health Association, an American College of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer and a Member of the American Nutrition Association.

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