High blood pressure risks can be raised in older men through poor sleep quality, according to a new study.
Researchers have discovered that a lack of deep sleep can increase the risk of the condition by as much as 80% over 3.4 years.
In a study reported by the American Heart Association journal Hypertension, the average amount of time 784 men aged around 75 spent in “slow wave sleep” (SWS) - a deep stage of slumber from which it is difficult to awaken - was measured.
People who spend less than 4% of their sleeping time in SWS are much more likely to develop high blood pressure, or hypertension.
Their sleep quality was poorer in general, with a shorter duration, more awakenings at night and sleep apnoea. Body weight - a key factor in high blood pressure - was not found to be an influence on the findings, although many of the men were overweight or obese.
Professor Susan Redline at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, said: “Our study shows for the first time that poor quality sleep, reflected by reduced slow wave sleep, puts individuals at significantly increased risk of developing high blood pressure, and that this effect appears to be independent of the influence of breathing pauses during sleep.”
- Witkowski A, et al. Effects of Renal Sympathetic Denervation on Blood Pressure, Sleep Apnea Course, and Glycemic Control in Patients With Resistant Hypertension and Sleep Apnea. Hypertension 2011; Advance online publication