Hypertension: with increasing prevalence, it is now a major health concern all over the world.
According to an article on Circadin, “Nearly seven million deaths worldwide are attributed to high blood pressure (BP) each year”. This is due to Hypertensions link to ischemic heart disease, stroke, cardiac and renal failure.
And now, studies have discovered that short sleep duration and poor quality of sleep can in fact put individuals at risk of developing high blood pressure.
Blood Pressure and Sleep
The body’s biological clock follows a 24 hour cycle and it encompasses things such as blood pressure, sleep and a plethora of other physiological body functions.
According to Circadin, “This clock is controlled by various environmental signals; most importantly the light–dark cycle and melatonin (the “sleep hormone”) which is in charge of sleep regulation and the circadian clock.”
As is expected, normal blood pressure naturally varies throughout a 24 hour day, with daytime pressures being higher than night time pressures.
Healthy people can usually expect their blood pressure to drop by approximately 10% (relative to their daytime baseline, especially in the second part of the night). The process of having a slight drop in blood pressure in the second part of the night is commonly referred to as “dipping”. Individuals who don’t experience a drop are known as “non-dippers”.
Evidences suggest that persons with a “non-dipping” pattern are at higher risk for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality than those with a “dipping” pattern.
Blood Pressure Regulation and Sleep
Recent studies show that suboptimal sleep (duration and quality) is associated with higher BP. It is unfortunate, then, to discover that patients with hypertension are 2-3 times more likely to have insomnia than patients with normal blood pressure and vise-versa.
Therefore, studies have often revealed that “non-dippers” suffer from less quality sleep, categorised by mostly light sleep and a greater percentage of awakenings during the night.
Such sleep deprivation has been linked to a significant increase in BP.
Melatonin and blood pressure regulation
Melatonin has also been found to play an important role in blood pressure regulation. In the recent article by Circadin, “Researchers showed that removal of the pineal gland (where melatonin is produced) or continuous exposure to light resulted in melatonin deficiency and high blood pressure (hypertension).”
“It was also found that “non-dippers” tend to produce less melatonin. Furthermore, beta-blockers, a common anti-hypertensive drug, were found to reduce melatonin secretion, resulting in insomnia.”
Circadin suggests that treatment with melatonin may simultaneously handle both insomnia and high blood pressure and may help in the regulation of the blood pressure rhythm and reducing the cardiovascular mortality and morbidity risk in hypertensive patients with insomnia.
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