Sleep is a fundamental aspect of our lives, and its quality is important for our health and well-being. Research carried out in the last few years shows a deep connection between sleep quality and blood pressure.
Understanding this connection is critical in promoting cardiovascular health and improving sleeping habits. This article will focus on the relationship between sleep quality and blood pressure. We will also find out ways to regulate blood pressure levels by improving the quality of sleep.
The Connection Between Sleep Quality And Blood Pressure
Good sleep is very essential to promote healing and repair processes in our bodies. But, less or poor quality sleep has become prevalent in our modern society.
Many medical studies have found a strong association between sleep deprivation and hypertension. This can be a potential risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.
The Mechanism Behind Poor Sleep Quality Leading To Aggravated BP Levels
Poor sleep quality causes many issues that increase BP in humans. Let’s find out more about them.
Nocturnal Dipping Of Blood Pressure
Nocturnal dipping of BP is a process where the blood pressure levels decrease by 10-20% when you sleep during the night as compared to the day.
But, poor sleep quality (fragmented sleep, frequent awakenings, and alterations in sleep architecture) impairs the above process. This, in turn, leads to an increased risk of hypertension. The mechanism behind this involves autonomic nervous system problems and hormonal imbalances.
Elevated Sympathetic Nervous System Activity
The sympathetic nervous system is also responsible for maintaining normal blood pressure levels in the body.
Poor sleep quality disrupts this normal balance. It then releases stress hormones (adrenaline and noradrenaline), which increase the blood pressure.
Also, heightened parasympathetic nervous activity constricts the blood capillaries. This results in increased blood pressure levels.
Impaired Glucose Metabolism
Bad sleep quality disrupts the glucose metabolism in the body, leading to insulin resistance. With increased glucose levels, blood pressure also increases.
Altered Endothelial Function
The endothelium layer plays an important role in blood pressure control. However, poor sleep quality decreases nitric oxide bioavailability and releases Endothelin-1.
The disbalance between vasodilation and vasoconstriction thereby elevates BP levels.
Increased Inflammation Risks
Inadequate sleep and poor sleep quality disrupt the body’s normal immune response. These issues impair blood vessel function and harden arteries. Thus, your BP levels are bound to increase.
Tips To Improve Your Sleep Quality
All is not lost. Implementing certain changes in your lifestyle and sleeping habits will prevent sleep deprivation and improve sleep quality. Thus, you can also mitigate your elevated BP levels.
Limit Daytime Naps
You should reduce your daytime naps as they affect your nighttime sleep. Why so? Sleeping during day time recharges your body for an additional hour of activity and does let you tire down to sleep.
A short nap is good and reasonable during the day but worse if taken for long hours. Therefore, if daytime sleep is controlled, sleep quality will increase, and BP will reduce.
Create A Tranquil Sleep Environment
The ambiance of your bedroom is an important factor in calming your mind. A cluttered room has a psychological impact on your mind and, thereby on your sleep. Hence, you need to create your bedroom in such a way that it soothes your mental state.
From the bed’s position to the decor of your bedroom wall and table lamp should have a calming influence on your mind. Your room should be dark, cool, and quiet for proper sleep and reduced blood pressure.
Follow Correct Sleeping Postures
There is no ideal sleep position as it changes from one person to another. While people may adopt different sleep postures to lower pressure, what they may think is correct.
But in general, sleeping in a fetal position helps to control sleep apnea. Whereas sleeping on the left side is good for high blood pressure patients.
Limit Screen Time Before Bed
The blue light emitted by electronic devices disrupts your body’s natural sleep cycle. Stop using smartphones or laptops one hour before sleeping. This will give your brain time to relax, and you will easily fall asleep.
Exercising can significantly improve your sleep quality and stress levels. So, devote 30 minutes daily to workouts to stay fit and sleep well. However, avoid exercise just before going to bed, it will disturb your sleep and ultimately impact your blood pressure.
Watch What You Eat And Drink
Do not eat heavy meals just before sleeping. Also, avoid coffee, tea, and alcohol for good sleep quality. In order to improve your sleep quality, you will have to maintain a 1-2 hours difference between your meal time and sleeping time. Having healthy food is also compulsory for your health and sleep quality.
Also, try to do light exercise after having a meal which will help in your digestion and will increase your sleep quality.
To conclude, it must be clear to you that poor sleep impacts blood pressure. Hence, it is very important for you to develop good sleeping habits and reduce stress levels.
This will be a good start and will bring long-term benefits to your health.
Q1: Can Sleep Apnea Contribute To High Blood Pressure?
Ans: Yes, high BP can be due to sleep apnea. This is because the condition results in increased stress and decreases oxygen saturation in the blood. The end result is high BP.
Q2: At What Age Does Poor Sleep Quality Start To Affect Blood Pressure?
Ans: In general, poor sleep can affect BP at any age. But adults over 50 are more prone to it. Also, young people suffering from obesity or diabetes are most affected.
Q3: Can Too Much Sleep Raise Blood Pressure?
Ans: Yes, too much sleep can raise your blood pressure. It will also increase your blood sugar levels.