Not getting enough sleep wreaks havoc on your daily functioning. Research shows it may also increase your risk of developing or worsening high blood pressure.
In a Mayo Clinic study, participants were first restricted to four hours of sleep each night for nine nights. In a second phase they got nine hours of sleep each night. When comparing blood pressure in each of the phases, participants’ blood pressure was higher when they slept less. There’s also an increased risk in people who only get between five and six hours of sleep each night.
Why the connection? It’s thought that sleep helps your blood regulate stress hormones and helps the nervous system stay healthy. Lack of sleep over an extended period of time could affect the body’s ability to regulate stress hormones, causing high blood pressure.
Sleep apnea, a common disorder where breathing stops or gets very shallow during sleep, can also increase blood pressure and put strain on the cardiovascular system because of the sudden drops in blood oxygen levels that occur during sleep apnea. Additionally, sleep apnea can increase the risk of recurrent heart attacks, stroke and abnormal heartbeats.
If you are having sleep difficulties, your health is severely impacted. Schedule an appointment with Lake Norman Pulmonary and Critical Care. Most sleep disorders can be managed and treated once they are properly identified.