Sleep and blood pressure

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Bad night’s sleep linked to high blood pressure

Sleeping less than six hours a night could be bad for your blood pressure health, according to a new study by the American Medical Association.

The study measured the blood pressure of 578 adults aged 33-45, recording the numbers of hours they slept for, and also the quality of this sleep.

Participants slept for an average of six hours, and those who slept for less than this were found to have a higher rate of increase in their blood pressure numbers.

For each hour less of sleep, there was a 37 per cent increase in the risk of incident high blood pressure. Even when factors such as race, gender and social status were taken in to account there was still a 30 per cent increase in risk.

However, while the study’s authors concluded there was evidence that getting less sleep increased risk of high blood pressure, they said research was now needed to investigate whether getting more sleep would actually reduce blood pressure.

Mike Rich, Executive Director of UK charity the Blood Pressure Association, said: "This is an interesting study and there's no doubt that all of us, including people who have high blood pressure, feel better after a good night's sleep.

"However, until research is done to show whether getting more sleep can actually reduce the risk of high blood pressure, we'd suggest that this would be no substitute to taking prescribed blood pressure lowering medicines and following a healthy lifestyle."

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