Sleep and High Blood Pressure: What's the Link?

Humans spend (or should spend) about one-third of their lives sleeping, as our bodies use this time to repair, restore, and regulate itself. Getting too little, and even too much, sleep can offset this process and lead to serious physical issues, including high blood pressure.

At Modern Heart and Vascular Institute, Dr. Rajiv Agarwal and our team work diligently to help our patients safeguard their cardiovascular health. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to stay one step ahead of cardiovascular diseases like hypertension by understanding your risk factors.

With that in mind, here’s a look at why getting the right amount of sleep is important for your blood pressure.

The importance of sleep

There’s no shortage of reasons why sleep is important for your mental and physical health, but to give you an idea, here are just a few things that happen when you sleep:

When you sleep, your body takes this time to scan itself and make any necessary adjustments and repairs.

The link between lack of sleep and cardiovascular health

Over the years, researchers have established a link between sleep and cardiovascular health, and more specifically, how sleep issues can increase your risk for serious issues like heart attack and stroke.

The reason for this connection isn’t entirely understood, but researchers believe that an interruption in your metabolic system may be to blame. When you don’t get enough sleep, it can lead to higher levels of cortisols, which are your stress hormones. These hormones initiate a fight-or-flight mode in your body that includes muscle tension and elevated heart rate, which can lead to hypertension.

One study found that people who have a bad night’s sleep typically experience a spike in blood pressure, which they carry into the next day. If you fail to get enough sleep night after night, these spikes can add up and lead to chronic issues with hypertension.

Too much of a good thing

Interestingly, there’s some evidence that getting too much sleep may also lead to hypertension and other cardiovascular problems. Researchers believe that oversleeping can lead to generalized fatigue and inflammation in your body, which makes it difficult for you to be active during your waking hours. 

This inactivity can then lead to a wide range of serious cardiovascular issues, including hypertension and coronary artery disease, which is why we recommend exercise as one of the best preventive practices for your heart health.

Striking a balance

When it comes to sleep, it’s important that you strike a balance. We recommend that you get 7-9 hours a night of good quality sleep. If you’re having trouble sleeping, we urge you to discuss the problem with us so that we can get you back on track for great overall health.

To get started, simply contact one of our offices in the Humble, Texas, area to set up an appointment.

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