A new study may have discovered why there is a link between insufficient sleep and high blood pressure. Researchers from the University of Arizona may have discovered why sleep disorders increase the risk of stroke, heart attack and even premature death.
Although the link between sleep and blood pressure has been well documented in the past, this is the first study to have a possible explanation for it. "Blood pressure is one of the best predictors of cardiovascular health. There is a lot of literature out there that shows sleep has some kind of impact on mortality and on cardiovascular disease, which is the No. 1 killer of people in the country. We wanted to see if we could try to get a piece of that story—how sleep might be impacting disease through blood pressure," lead study author, Caroline Doyle, a graduate student in the UA Department of Psychology, spoke about the study, told a news portal.
The study included 300 participants that included men and women between the ages of 21 to 70. None of the participants had any history of heart issues. Everyone in the group wore portable blood pressure cuffs for two days. During this time, the cuffs took blood pressure readings every 45 minutes.
The participants also had to wear actigraphy monitors so researchers could monitor their sleep pattern, as well as how long they spent in bed. The results showed blood pressure levels were high for those who have trouble sleeping. Those same participants were also found to have systolic blood pressure on the second day.
For people who are suffering from chronic sleep issues, Doyle suggests cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBTI). This form of treatment can help patients make a behavioural change in order to improve the quality of their sleep. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American College of Physicians both recommend CBTI as it has been found to be very effective.
Today's lifestyle has caused many people to develop sleeping issues. Some more severe than others. Researchers hope their findings highlight the importance of a good night's sleep. Simple changes to improve sleep quality can have a big impact on your health. "Keep the phone in a different room,"co-author of the study John Ruiz told a news portal. Adding, "If your bedroom window faces the east, pull the shades. For anything that’s going to cause you to waken, think ahead about what you can do to mitigate those effects.”
This study will be published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.