The Connection Between Insomnia And Hypertension
A bad night's sleep can result in a sharp rise in blood pressure the following day. Thus, for people battling insomnia, these sharp rises in blood pressure are all too common. Sleep specialists recommend that adults should get seven to eight hours of sleep per night to avoid adverse effects.
Getting less than six to seven hours of sleep is considered bad for your health. This is true for the general populous with little exception. Travel, jet lag, stress, work, and other obstacles stopping you from sleeping put you at a higher risk of developing health diseases, obesity, diabetes, and even hypertension. If someone is regularly not getting seven to eight hours of sleep, it may lead to hypertension (high blood pressure).
Insomnia, Stress, and Hypertension
Hypertension is commonly considered a disease that largely affects middle-aged and older people due to stress or other underlying conditions. However, even children are at risk of developing hypertension if they do not get enough sleep regularly.
Higher blood pressure is closely correlated with how little one sleeps. In other words, the less one sleeps, the higher their blood pressure may reach. Thus, if somebody sleeps less than six hours, they may experience a steep increase in blood pressure. This is even more certain to happen with people who already have hypertension. Thus, not only can insomnia cause hypertension, it can make existing hypertension much worse.
Although the correlation between hypertension and insomnia is very clear, the reasons behind this are not greatly understood. Researchers have come up with numerous hypotheses. It is believed that sleep helps your body control hormones that are needed to regulate stress and metabolism.
Over time, a regular lack of adequate sleep can cause your body to not maintain these hormones at their normal levels, leading to an increased level of stress and ultimately high blood pressure and heart diseases. This is backed up by the findings that the levels of cortisol in your blood, while you sleep, are lesser than when you are awake.
Cortisol is the body’s stress-causing hormone. High levels of cortisol lead to stress which ultimately and almost definitely leads to higher blood pressure. Thus, as sleep causes reduced levels of cortisol, it helps in preventing high blood pressure. Sleep is such a powerful tool in reducing cortisol levels that even experiencing nightmares does not significantly raise cortisol levels compared to staying awake during the time you are meant to be sleeping.
Risks of Oversleeping
It is important to note that the relationship between the amount of sleep and blood pressure levels is not indefinitely linear. Sleeping significantly more than the recommended amount of sleep can have negative effects. Too much sleep can lead to high blood sugar and weight gain.
Both these outcomes make the person at a higher risk for high blood pressure as well. This makes it important to understand that you cannot make up for lost sleep. Sleep is not a debt that you can pay back later. This is to say that sleeping for long periods after regularly not getting adequate sleep is not ideal and can be counterproductive.
Sleep Apnea and Hypertension
Some people with insomnia have insomnia as a result of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA causes the patient to repeatedly stop and start breathing during sleep. This lapse in a person's oxygen supply can be a significant cause of an increase in stress levels which can then increase their blood pressure.
Even ignoring stress levels, a lack of adequate oxygen can increase blood pressure, as the body tries to pump a larger volume of blood to make up for the lack of adequate blood oxygen levels. Thus, the body tries to increase blood pressure as a sort of defense mechanism against a lack of oxygen.
Regardless of the reason, however, the reality is that hypertension is common for people with OSA. The good news for this condition is that the symptoms can be managed. Talking to a sleep specialist like the ones available at SleepRx can greatly help patients in achieving more uninterrupted sleep cycles. On top of this, getting the right positive airway pressure machine can help OSA patients sleep peaceful nights leading to a complete reduction in hypertension.
Some people with OSA are unaware of their condition. Thus it is very important to talk to your primary care physician if you feel tired even after a full night's sleep, especially if you are known to snore as OSA might be the cause of your problems.
Other researchers have hypothesized that quality of sleep is also very important rather than simply quality. We have hinted at this with the conversation on OSA-related insomnia and hypertension. Anxiety is one of the major causes of people not getting a good night's sleep. They become restless, get racing thoughts, and cannot relax their mind.
Mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops are significant causes of these feelings. Light from these devices tricks the brain into believing it is not currently time to sleep, and they simply chase your sleep away. Social media can keep people awaiting notifications, and thus the mere presence of their phone can keep them anxious for the next text. If you or your loved ones are battling problems like these, seek professional help by talking to sleep specialists.
What Can You Do?
Although you may feel hopeless, these problems can be addressed with professional help. SleepRx provides a range of resources to help you get started in your journey to feeling better.
From sleep study kits that help doctors in remotely testing you for sleep apnea, sleep specialists who help you through your treatment, to sleep kits to alleviate your sleep apnea symptoms, SleepRx can help you in regaining the ability to receive a good night’s rest.