As more than 30 percent of Americans deal with difficulty falling asleep, at least they don’t have to worry that their insomnia being associated with high blood pressure.
The new findings should relieve concerns of the medical consequences of insomnia on the cardiovascular systems.
Canadian researcher Dr. Nicholas Vozoris hopes the study findings will lead to a reduction of sleeping pills prescribed for cardio-protection.
Vozoris believes sleeping pills are already used too often and associated with a number of serious side effects, including addiction, overdose, car accidents, and falls.
Earlier studies that suggested a link between insomnia and high blood pressure were often based on small numbers of people.
For the research, Vozoris examined data from nearly 13,000 Americans who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a series of studies designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States.
The survey is unique in that it combines interviews and physical examinations. Participants were asked about their insomnia symptoms, and their responses were correlated with whether they had doctor-diagnosed hypertension, were taking anti-hypertension drugs, or had measured high blood pressure.
“After adjusting for many factors, including whether or not participants were receiving blood pressure pills or sleeping pills, there were generally no associations between insomnia and high blood pressure, even among people who were suffering from insomnia the most often,” said Vozoris.
“These results should reassure patients and their doctors that insomnia and high blood pressure are unlikely to be linked.”
His findings are published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.
The study is believed to be the first to examine for hypertension among individuals who self-reported various frequencies of insomnia symptoms.
“Patients who are suffering from insomnia and physicians who are trying to take care of them shouldn’t worry so much about insomnia affecting their heart in an adverse way,” he said.
“By showing there is no link between this very common sleep disorder and high blood pressure, physicians can be more selective when prescribing sleeping pills and refrain from prescribing these medications from a cardio-protective perspective.”
Source: St. Michael’s Hospital