A new study published in the upcoming issue of Hypertension based on data from 4,810 subjects (32 to 86) finds that short sleep durations over a prolonged period may be a risk factor for hypertension.
The researchers found that people who sleep for only short durations raise their average 24-hour blood pressure and heart rate. “This may set up the cardiovascular system to operate at an elevated pressure.”
Although sleep disorders have been linked with cardiovascular disease, it was not clear if sleep deprivation in people without sleep disorders affected the risk of hypertension.
Of the study group, 647 subjects were diagnosed with hypertension during the follow-up period from 1982 to 1992. According to the report, among the subjects between 32 and 59 years of age, sleeping less than 6 hours per night raised the risk of hypertension by 210% and this link remained after adjusting for obesity and diabetes.
While addition studies are needed to clarify he link between sleep deprivation and high blood pressure, the study authors noted: “If short sleep duration functions to increase blood pressure, then interventions that increase the amount and quality of sleep could potentially serve as treatments and as primary preventative measures for hypertension.”