Sleep Deficits Can Hike Nighttime Blood Pressure

A new study from the Mayo Clinic suggests that people exposed to prolonged periods of shortened sleep have significant increases in blood pressure during nighttime hours.

Although the study was small, results were presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 64th Annual Scientific Session.

In the study, eight healthy, normal weight participants, ages 19 to 36, participated in a 16-day inpatient protocol.

Participants received an initial four-day acclimation period followed by nine days of either sleep restriction (four hours of sleep per night) or normal sleep (nine hours of sleep per night), and three days of recovery.

Blood pressure was monitored at 24 intervals during each study phase.

During the nighttime, in the sleep restriction phase compared to the normal sleep phase, systolic (top number) and diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure averaged 115/64 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) versus 105/57 mm Hg, respectively, researchers found.

Furthermore, the expected fall in blood pressure during the night was suppressed when subjects had inadequate sleep. Researchers also found that nighttime heart rate was higher with sleep restriction than in normal sleep.

Investigators believe the study suggest that sleep deficits may a represent a potential cardiac risk factor.

“We know high blood pressure, particularly during the night, is one of the major risk factors for heart disease, and Americans typically do not get enough sleep,” said lead author Naima Covassin, Ph.D.

“For the first time, we demonstrated that insufficient sleep causes increases in nighttime blood pressure and dampens nocturnal blood pressure dipping, by using a controlled study that mimics the sleep loss experienced by many people.”

Source: Mayo Clinic