Lack of sleep can lead to hypertension

Spending hours staring at a screen is a common occurrence these days, and more and more people are succumbing to this screen-lit life! From study materials to social media posts to work emails, we can’t help but stare at our screens most of the day. However, compromising these hours of sleep can cause your blood pressure to increase. According to the National Institutes of Health, about 33 percent of the urban population and 25 percent of rural Indians suffer from hypertension. Scroll down to understand the link between lack of sleep and hypertension.

Health Shots asked Dr Samrat Shah, Internal Medicine Expert, Apollo Spectra, Pune, to explain the connection.

How does lack of sleep cause high blood pressure?

Sleep deprivation has long been associated with various health problems, including hypertension. Some studies have shown a direct link between lack of sleep and high blood pressure. A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension found that not getting enough can raise your blood pressure and even increase the risk of heart disease.

Explaining this connection, Dr Shah says: “When you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces more stress hormones like cortisol, which in turn increases blood pressure. Lack of sleep also disrupts the normal functioning of our blood vessels, making them less elastic and more prone to constriction. As a result, blood circulation is compromised and the heart has to work harder to pump oxygenated blood throughout the body.

Lack of sleep can harm your heart. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

You can control your blood pressure by improving your sleep habits without medication, says the expert. This is helpful because your body repairs damaged blood vessels and regulates hormonal balance during deep sleep. If you prioritize getting regular, adequate sleep, you can potentially reduce the risk of developing hypertension while easing the symptoms associated with it.

Tips for sleeping well at night

Since the best way to maintain your blood pressure during sleep deprivation is to get a good night’s sleep, you need to improve your sleep habits:

1. Establish a good sleep routine

Believe it or not, a relaxing routine can help you sleep well. Dr. Shah says that establishing a relaxing routine before bed can signal your body to relax and prepare for sleep.

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2. Avoid browsing social media

Whether you’re scrolling through social media or watching TV before bed, it all disrupts your sleep pattern. Studies have shown that spending long hours in front of a screen can lead to lack of sleep, which can be the breeding ground for other illnesses. The expert suggests practicing activities that promote relaxation, such as reading a book, practicing meditation or deep breathing exercises, or taking a warm bath. By dedicating at least 30 minutes each evening to calming activities, you will give your mind and body the opportunity to relax and release the stressors of the day.

use of smartphones
Avoid using the phone before bed. Image courtesy: Adobe stock

3. Set the environment correctly

TV on in the background with the lights on isn’t exactly the best environment for quality sleep. Start by making sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool enough to promote optimal sleeping conditions. Consider investing in blackout curtains, earplugs or a white noise machine if external factors like street lighting or noise disrupt your sleep. Creating an ideal sleep sanctuary will give you the best chance of achieving deep, uninterrupted sleep every night, says the expert.

4. Exercise regularly

Exercising regularly has been proven to improve both the duration and quality of sleep. However, timing is everything. So, exercising too close to bedtime can stimulate your body and prevent you from falling asleep quickly. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise during the day, whether that’s walking/jogging outdoors or going to the gym.

exercise regularly
Don’t skip your daily exercise. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

5. Avoid consuming caffeine before going out

Try to avoid consuming caffeine after 3 p.m. if you have trouble sleeping. Take an evening walk with your loved ones after dinner. Try to talk about positive things that happened during the day. Avoid having negative thoughts during this walk.

It is essential to recognize that lack of sleep can lead to hypertension. This is why it is important to adopt healthy sleep habits as part of maintaining overall heart health.

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