Fewer hours of sleep could lead to hypertension
Apr 5, 2006 - 2:10:37 PM

Fewer hours of sleep at night could raise your blood pressure, particularly if you are middle aged, says a new study.

Sleep deprivation has been shown previously to increase appetite and compromise insulin sensitivity.

Now researchers led by James E. Gangwisch of Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and the College of Physicians and Surgeons have found that middle aged people who sleep for five hours or less at night could face the risk of developing high blood pressure, reported science portal EurekAlert.

The researchers studied data from 4,810 people aged 32-86 who did not have high blood pressure at baseline. The 1982-84 follow-up survey asked participants how many hours they slept at night.

During eight to 10 years of follow-up, 647 of the 4,810 participants were diagnosed with hypertension.

Compared to people who slept seven or eight hours a night, people who slept five or fewer hours a night also exercised less and were more likely to have a higher body mass index.

They were also more likely to have diabetes and depression and to report daytime sleepiness.

Short sleep duration was linked to a new diagnosis of high blood pressure among middle-aged participants, but the association was not observed among people age 60 or older, he said.

The differences between the younger and older subjects might be explained by the fact that advanced age is associated with difficulties in falling and staying asleep.

Since the study is based on observational data, Gangwisch said more research was needed to confirm the association between short sleep duration and high blood pressure.

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