Rest is supposed to be that state of calm where we put our systems to rest and recharge our batteries. However, along with work stress and other health factors such as lack of exercise and diet, an irregular sleep pattern could end up contributing to the damage done to your body.
Besides obvious changes in behaviour that we often see with our sleep-deprived friends or family members, such as irritability, grumpiness, and lack of patience, there may be more going on from a medical and bodily standpoint.
According to the MayoClinic, healthy blood pressure levels follow a daily pattern where they naturally rise and fall in a circular pattern. Normal blood pressure starts to rise a few hours before waking up, tends to peak in the middle of the afternoon, and finally reaches its lowest points in the middle of the night during one’s deep sleep.
After 16 days of observation, it was found that subjects who experienced prolonged periods of shorter sleep also registered substantially higher blood pressure numbers at night. The findings were shared at a session by the American College of Cardiology.
In addition to confirming that inadequate sleep limited the cyclical decrease in blood pressure, the experiment also proved a higher nighttime heart rate in sleep-deprived subjects than those who experienced normal sleep. Lead author of the study and researcher with expertise in Cardiology, Neurology and Sleep Medicine, Naima Covassin, PhD said: “We know high blood pressure, particularly during the night, is one of the major risk factors for heart disease.”
Similar findings were also suggested from a much larger study that also demonstrated a link between sleep and blood pressure. A 2013 study published in the American Sleep Medicine journal, shared the results of 21 studies involving 225,000 subjects. The findings showed that short sleepers – categorised as those who slept less than six hours a night – were 20 percent more likely to develop hypertension.
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