Bad sleep could trigger high blood pressure

A lack of deep sleep could leave men at risk of developing high blood pressure

A new study shows that men are more likely to have less deep sleep than women making them twice as likely to suffer from high blood pressure.

Researchers measured the sleep patterns of almost 800 men with an average age of 75 to find out how long each spent in slow wave sleep. They discovered that those who spent less than four per cent of their sleep time in slow wave sleep (SWS) were 80 per cent more likely to develop high blood pressure.

The British Heart Foundation says it is important to prioritise sleep, stressing that high blood pressure – also known as hypertension – increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other heath problems.

‘Our study shows for the first time that poor quality sleep reflected by reduced slow wave sleep, puts individuals at significantly increased risk of developing high blood pressure,’ says study author Professor Susan Redline from Harvard Medical School.

‘Although women were not included in this study, it’s quite likely that those who have lower levels of slow wave sleep for any number of reasons may also have an increased risk of developing high blood pressure.’

Natasha Stewart, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, says: ‘We need more research in other age groups and involving women to confirm this particular association.

‘However, we do know more generally that sleep is essential for staying healthy. It’s important we all try to make sleep a priority and get our six to eight hours of shut-eye a night.’

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