Sleep Deep!
and Lower Blood Pressure

Do you regularly get a good nights sleep? We are not talking here about the length but the quality. If not, it could be aggravating or even be the cause of your high blood pressure.

It`s common knowledge now that a lack of this vital function can be the trigger of many health problems but new research is now emerging that shows evidence that the quality has a connection with hypertension.

I wrote in my page on Buteyko Breathing how sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure in a different way, but I will now discuss the quality of our slumber which apparently is a strong marker.

What the Case Study Revealed

A study published in the American Heart Association`s journal Hypertension reports on the findings that Decreased Slow Wave Sleep (SWS) Increases Risk of Developing Hypertension in Elderly Men. This is the first test of its kind carried out which limited it`s test subjects to men 65 and over. They had sleeping problems but didn`t have hypertension at the start of the study.

SWS is a state of slumber that is very deep with no rapid eye movement (REM). It is harder to wake someone who is in this state. During this phase researchers think that the body is regulating stress hormones, and we already know the negative impact that persistent stress hormones can have on the cardiovascular system.

Out of 784 of the men who participated in the study, 243 were showing signs of being at risk of developing hypertension when assessed 3 to 4 years later. All other potential contributing markers such as body weight, race, and age were eliminated which singled out SWS as the risk factor.

Perhaps now that they found a significant link, we might see some new research being undertaken on groups of younger people and women.

Time to Wake Up!

Apparently we are not taking heed! Harvard, in pointing out the need for longer sleep, said a recent study revealed there are more of us than ever not getting enough of it. They stressed that this can have serious implications for our cardiovascular and immune system health, so The Harvard Women’s Health Watch give us 6 suggestions why we should try and get the amount we need.

A lack of it affects our –

    • Learning and Memory
    • Metabolism and Weight
    • Safety
    • Mood
    • Cardiovascular Health
    • Immune Health

What We Should and Shouldn`t Do

Knowledge is of no benefit if it`s not heeded. American Sleep Disorders Association and Sleep Research Society conducted a study to see if exercise could help elderly men improve the quality. The study provided positive results. Not only did weight training exercise improve it but also their depression, quality of life, and fitness. We also know exercise has a direct result on systolic blood pressure. So there you have it! If that is not an incentive to get lifting what is? We can go a step further in saying that prolonged intense exercise can lengthen SWS and isn`t that our target?

Some revert to looking for a magic pharmaceutical bullet which doesn`t exist. Taking some form of sleeping pill will get most of us nodding off but it won`t produce the deep sleep phase that we need.

Eating properly and not just before going to bed is of tremendous benefit. Taking a warm, relaxing bath just before bedtime will help you sink into a deeper state. But don`t forget the exercise! In general exercise is good for all-round health. Sorry, but you can`t deny and defy it any more!


Journal Hypertension – Decreased Slow Wave Sleep Increases Risk of Developing Hypertension in Elderly Men

Maple M. Fung, Katherine Peters, Susan Redline, Michael G. Ziegler, Sonia Ancoli-Israel, Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, Katie L. Stone, for the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men Research Group