In a new study, researchers found that a bad night’s sleep may result in a spike in blood pressure that night and the following day.
The finding explains why sleep problems may increase the risk of heart attack, stroke and even death from these diseases.
The research was led by a team from the University of Arizona.
Previous research has shown the link between poor sleep and heart health problems, but the reason for the relationship is less clear.
In this study, the team wanted to learn more about the connection in a study of 300 men and women, ages 21 to 70, with no history of heart problems.
The people wore portable blood pressure cuffs for two consecutive days.
The cuffs randomly took participants’ blood pressure during 45-minute intervals throughout each day and also overnight.
At night, participants wore actigraphy monitors — wristwatch-like devices that measure movement — to help determine their “sleep efficiency”.
The team found that people who had lower sleep efficiency showed an increase in blood pressure during that restless night.
They also had higher systolic blood pressure the next day.
These latest findings provide important information for understanding the pathway through which sleep impacts overall cardiovascular health.
They reinforce just how important a good night’s sleep can be. It’s not just the amount of time people spend in bed, but the quality of sleep they’re getting.
More research is needed to understand why poor sleep raises blood pressure and what it could mean long-term for people with chronic sleep issues.
The lead author of the study is Caroline Doyle, a graduate student in the UA Department of Psychology.
The study is published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.
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