April 03, 2006
Lack Of Sleep Linked To High Blood Pressure, Other Risks

Do not skimp on the sleep.

April 3, 2006 If you're middle age and sleep five or less hours a night, you may be increasing your risk of developing high blood pressure, according to a study released by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and reported in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.

"Sleep allows the heart to slow down and blood pressure to drop for a significant part of the day," said James E. Gangwisch, PhD, lead author of the study and post-doctoral fellow in the psychiatric epidemiology training (PET) program at the Mailman School. "However, people who sleep for only short durations raise their average 24-hour blood pressure and heart rate. This may set up the cardiovascular system to operate at an elevated pressure."

Dr. Gangwisch said that 24 percent of people ages 32 to 59 who slept for five or fewer hours a night developed hypertension versus 12 percent of those who got seven or eight hours of sleep. Subjects who slept five or fewer hours per night continued to be significantly more likely to be diagnosed with hypertension after controlling for factors such as obesity, diabetes, physical activity, salt and alcohol consumption, smoking, depression, age, education, gender, and ethnicity.

The researchers conducted a longitudinal analysis of data from the Epidemiologic Follow-up Studies of the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES I). The analysis is based on NHANES I data from 4,810 people ages 32 to 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. (BMI is a measurement used to assess body fatness). They were also more likely to have diabetes and depression, and to report daytime sleepiness.

I've come across other studies on the obesity-sleep connection. If you want to keep the weight off find a way to get enough sleep. See, for example, my posts Sleep A Lot To Avoid Burn-Out From Stress And To Stay Skinny and Mutant Mice With Disrupted Sleep Habits Get Fat.

Get 7 or 8 hours sleep each night so that you'll live long enough to still be alive when rejuvenation therapies are developed.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2006 April 03 09:34 PM  Aging Studies

crush41 said at April 4, 2006 10:53 AM:

The lethargy that comes from a lack of sleep is another plausible reason for the correlation of sleep deprivation and bad health, specifically obesity. It's harder to find the motivation to exercise rigorously when you've not slept well the night before.

On days when I've only slept four or five hours the night before, I have little energy after coming home from work or school, which is usually when I go running. My jaunts are usually bad and I cut them short. Conversely, on days when I am not able to work out I find my nights to be more restless. It's a vicious circle.

CASpears said at April 4, 2006 12:14 PM:

You need to work out earlier in the day, such as early in the morning. Working out in the evening will interfer with sleep. I had the same problem, until I change my routine around.

James Cook said at April 5, 2006 12:24 AM:

I have been suffering from Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome for quite some time. Everytime i accept a contract for a job that requires morning starts my weight increases while my mood, concentration, attention and memory greatly deteriorates.

The lathargy is crippling.

Bob Badour said at April 6, 2006 5:21 PM:

Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome -- Wow! They even have a name for it. Who knew? That's been the story of my life since about puberty.

That would also explain why I have been so tired recently. I don't have curtains to keep out the morning sun to let me sleep in... Hmmm....

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