Sunday, September 4, 2011

Are you sleeping light? Not good for your blood pressure

Older men who sleep lighter are at increased risk of developing high blood pressure, according to a study about the importance of a good night's rest.

Men who spent the least amount of time in slow-wave sleep, marked by synchronised brain waves and a deep sleep from which it's hard to wake up, were 83 per cent more likely to develop hypertension during the three-year study.

The findings remained consistent even with weight, race and age taken into account, according to the report in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Men are more likely to have high blood pressure than women, and poor sleep quality may help explain why, according to Prof Susan Redline, a professor of sleep medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. The findings add to previous reports that show deep sleep is important for learning and memory and may play a role in diabetes, cardiovascular disease and changes in metabolism.

"People should recognise that sleep, diet and physical activity are critical to health, including optimal blood pressure," said Prof Redline. The study included 784 men, aged 75 on average, who did not initially have high blood pressure.

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