Your blood pressure is one of the best predictors for the health of your heart. That’s because high blood pressure and a damaged heart go hand-in-hand, increasing your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
And, while there are many factors that contribute to high blood pressure, most of us don’t think about how we sleep as being part of that equation.
But, a brand new study is proving that your sleeping habits could be more important to maintaining healthy blood pressure — and therefore a healthy hear — than you ever expected.
High systolic blood pressure
The link between poor sleep and cardiovascular health problems has been well-established by study after study after study. But, the reason behind the relationship wasn’t known. This led researchers at the University of Arizona Department of Psychology to wonder if the key could be in how sleep or the lack thereof affects your blood pressure.
The study, published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, followed 300 men and women, from 21 to 70, with no history of heart problems. The participants wore portable blood pressure cuffs for two consecutive days, which checked their pressure every 45 minutes all day and night.
And, they also wore monitors at night that measured how much they moved around — a measure of what the researchers called “sleep efficiency,” or the amount of time they actually slept soundly.
The study showed that those who had lower sleep efficiency also had a corresponding increase in blood pressure during that restless night. And, the effects of poor sleep on their blood pressure didn’t stop when they woke up…
They also had higher systolic blood pressure — the top number in your blood pressure reading — the next day.
“This study stands on the shoulders of a broad literature looking at sleep and cardiovascular health,” said lead study author Caroline Doyle, a graduate student in the UA Department of Psychology. “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. “
Better blood pressure tips
So, as you just read, sleep is a serious health asset. In fact, a colleague recently wrote that poor sleep causes:
- Elevated arterial plaque
- Elevated levels of inflammatory cells in blood vessels
- Reduction of the hormone that keeps inflammatory cells in check
Obviously, if you’re ready to maintain a healthier heart and better blood pressure, getting better sleep could be the first step. A few tips the researchers from the UA Department of Psychology gave that can help include:
- Keep your phone, tablet or laptop in a different room.
- If your bedroom window faces the east, pull the shades.
What else can you do to help?
Take vitamin D before bedtime (preferably a high dose supplement of at least 5,000 IU). Not only does anecdotal evidence suggest it helps, but studies have shown a D deficiency is associated with sleep disorders.
Some supplements have also been extensively studied for their effects on promoting healthy blood pressure, like the ones found in Peak BP Platinum™ including:
- Grape seed extract — Its heart-healthy polyphenols activate the nitric oxide in the lining of your blood vessels to help them widen and improve blood flow.
- Vitamin K2 — Scientific studies have indicated that vitamin K2 can help reduce calcium deposits in arteries by about 50 percent.
- Pterostilbene — Found in blueberries, pterostilbene is an antioxidant that helps block the creation of Angiotensin II, an enzyme that stiffens the walls of your blood vessels and triggers a hormone that increases the amount of sodium and water retained in the body.
Don’t let high blood pressure put you at risk of death from heart disease, heart attack, or stroke. Get plenty of high-quality sleep and consider supplements that can help support a healthy heart.
- Sleepless nights linked to high blood pressure — EurekAlert!