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Lack of Sleep Predictor of Higher Blood Pressure

Last Updated: June 08, 2009.

Shorter sleep time and poor sleep maintenance are predictors of higher blood pressure levels and adverse blood pressure changes, according to a study published in the June 8 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

MONDAY, June 8 (HealthDay News) -- Shorter sleep time and poor sleep maintenance are predictors of higher blood pressure levels and adverse blood pressure changes, according to a study published in the June 8 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Kristen L. Knutson, Ph.D., of the University of Chicago, and colleagues conducted a study of 578 black and white adults aged 33 to 45 years at baseline, and measured their systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels, changes in blood pressure over a five-year period, and incidence of hypertension. Patients taking antihypertensive medication were excluded from the study.

Subjects who had shorter sleep duration and lower sleep maintenance had significantly higher levels of systolic and diastolic blood pressure and more adverse changes in blood pressure over the five-year study period, the investigators found; and those with short sleep duration also had higher odds of hypertension.

"The findings are supported by previous studies of an association between self-reported sleep characteristics and blood pressure and by laboratory evidence for increased sympathetic nervous activity as a likely mechanism underlying the increase in blood pressure after sleep loss," the authors write. "Because of the major adverse health consequences of high blood pressure, the identification of a new and potentially modifiable risk factor has clinical implications."

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