Blood pressure is normally lower at night while you sleep. Measuring blood pressure at night is called nocturnal blood pressure. When hypertension and sleep apnoea go together, the flow of oxygen through the body is greatly reduced. Numerous studies, involving hundreds of thousands of adults worldwide, have confirmed the link between short sleep duration and hypertension.
The researchers note that this is the first time that the effects of daytime naps on a person's blood pressure levels have been studied. It is common for blood pressure to be checked at the doctor's office, but there are many cases where it is important to check it at home. Michael Grandner is a licensed clinical psychologist certified in Behavioural Sleep Medicine and director of the Sleep and Health Research Program. Kallistratos and his colleagues explain that they went to great lengths to recruit study participants who reasonably controlled their blood pressure levels to ensure that their findings were credible.
You will find widely conflicting expert opinions on how (or whether) sleep posture contributes to high blood pressure. Sleep apnoea is caused, in most cases, by relaxation of the back of the throat and restriction of airflow into the body. Too little sleep not only affects your daytime performance, but can even cause major problems for your heart. Your body will be rejuvenated from the work and stress of the day, as well as allowing you to sleep longer during the night without interruptions.
Whatever the reason, evidence suggests that routinely sleeping less than six hours a night increases the risk of developing hypertension. Taking a low-dose blood pressure medication, for example, can reduce your blood pressure by an average of 5 to 7 mm Hg, while a nap can reduce overall blood pressure by an average of 5 mm Hg, the study authors note. Most Americans also complain of sleep deprivation, a CDC statistic that has also increased in recent years. They noted that there was no significant difference between the number of blood pressure medications taken by participants in the two groups.
But if you have been diagnosed with hypertension and OSA, or if you have high blood pressure and experience sleep deprivation, you can take steps to address these underlying issues to perhaps help you better control your blood pressure.