Sleep quality attends every physiological function.
As the most important restorative process, medical experts are able to assess our risks for developing chronic conditions later in life by reviewing key circadian habits.
Prolonged insomnia has been previously linked to degenerative cognitive illness, but the data has been vague with respect to its impact on cardiovascular health.
“Blood pressure is one of the best predictors of cardiovascular health,” explained lead study author Caroline Doyle, in a media release. “There is a lot of literature out there that shows sleep has some kind of impact on mortality and on cardiovascular disease, which is the No. 1 killer of people in the country. We wanted to see if we could try to get a piece of that story – how sleep might be impacting disease through blood pressure.”
Associations Between Objective Sleep and Ambulatory Blood Pressure
The authors of the new paper, which was published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, recruited 300 men and women between the ages of 21 and 70, who were previously enrolled in the North Texas Heart Study.
Sleep quality and duration were monitored for two consecutive nights via ambulatory blood pressure cuffs and analyzed randomly within 45-minute blocks on the first and second day and again during the evenings.
Consistently, the fewer participants slept the higher their blood pressure was the following day upon review.
On balance, sleep duration results were comparable to those of sleep efficiency. Participants with lower sleep efficiency evidenced higher daytime systolic blood pressure but not diastolic blood pressure. Additionally, lower sleep efficiency on one night was associated with higher systolic the very next day.
“Epidemiologic data increasingly support sleep as a determinant of cardiovascular disease risk. Fewer studies have investigated the mechanisms underlying this relationship using objective sleep assessment approaches,” the authors continued. “Lower sleep duration and efficiency are associated with higher daytime systolic BP and higher nighttime BP when assessed separately. When assessed together, sleep duration and efficiency diverge in their associations with BP at different times of the day.”
Systolic blood pressure refers to the force put upon blood vessels when our heartbeats.
High blood pressure (HBP) itself has no symptoms but the condition is a precursor to several serious diseases.
Over time, HBP damages our arteries’ inner lining, which in turn limits blood flow throughout the body.
The more pressure applied to circulation, the weaker an artery becomes, increasing the likelihood of critical ruptures, aneurysms, and internal bleeding.
Alongside coronary artery disease and heart failure, high blood pressure is a prominent correlate of renal failure, dementia, and sexual dysfunction.
As we age sleep becomes a more integral deterrent against the development of potentially fatal comorbidities.
For half a century medical experts have known that those who receive between seven and eight hours of undisturbed quality sleep a night enjoy the best longevity statistics-irrespective of age.
“This study stands on the shoulders of a broad literature looking at sleep and cardiovascular health,” Doyle adds. “This is one more study that shows something is going on with sleep and our heart health. Sleep is important, so whatever you can do to improve your sleep, it’s worth prioritizing “