Prolonged sleep deprivation can lead to serious health problems and make certain health problems even worse. In the case of high blood pressure, not getting enough sleep means that your blood pressure stays elevated for a longer period of time, precluding your body from repairing itself. Studies have shown that people with poor quality sleep tend to have higher blood pressure.
Ever heard of Life’s Simple Seven? If you haven’t yet, you won’t — because it’s now known as Life’s Essential Eight. The AHA has identified 8 key components to maintaining ideal cardiovascular health, and for the first time, sleep is now on the list! Sleep quality actually affects every component of the Essential Eight, including “maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, being physically active, eating a healthy diet and controlling blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar.” In conjunction, recent research has shown that sleep duration is essential for cardiovascular health and avoiding high blood pressure.
Blood pressure is one of the best predictors of cardiovascular health. Preventing or managing high blood pressure can be done with lifestyle changes that include diet, exercise, weight loss, stress management, and sleep.
Nearly one-third of Americans suffer from high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, the pressure exerted against your arteries when carrying blood from your heart to other parts of your body. The higher your blood pressure levels, which change throughout the day based upon your activities, the more risk you have for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
While not getting enough sleep might be fine for a day or two, prolonged sleep deprivation can lead to serious health problems and make certain health problems even worse. In the case of high blood pressure, not getting enough sleep means that your blood pressure stays elevated for a longer period of time, precluding your body from repairing itself. Studies have shown that people with poor quality sleep tend to have higher blood pressure.
During normal sleep, both blood pressure and heart rate decrease—a phenomenon often called nocturnal dipping. A decrease of 10-20% in both is considered normal. An absence of dipping, defined as less than 10%, is an independent predictor of cardiovascular disease.
If you’re committed to your health, especially maintaining heart health, you should pay attention to the duration and quality of your sleep. We can help.
Covassin N, Singh P. Sleep Duration and Cardiovascular Disease Risk: Epidemiologic and Experimental Evidence. Sleep Med Clin. 2016;11(1):81-89. doi:10.1016/j.jsmc.2015.10.007
Overview of the Autonomic Nervous System By Phillip Low, By, Low P, Last full review/revision Apr 2020| Content last modified Apr 2020. Overview of the Autonomic Nervous System - Brain, Spinal Cord, and Nerve Disorders. Merck Manuals Consumer Version. https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/brain,-spinal-cord,-and-nerve-disorders/autonomic-nervous-system-disorders/overview-of-the-autonomic-nervous-system. Published April 2020. Accessed November 19, 2020.
Sleep joins revamped list of Heart Health Essentials. www.heart.org. (2023, January 24). https://www.heart.org/en/news/2022/06/29/sleep-joins-revamped-list-of-heart-health-essentials