Q:

How does sleep affect blood pressure?

A:

Quick Answer

Sleep helps blood regulate stress hormones and maintain the health of the nervous system. Lack of sleep limits the body's ability to regulate stress hormones, causing increased blood pressure. Sleeping for seven to eight hours daily contributes to the treatment and prevention of hypertension, according to Mayo Clinic.

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Full Answer

Sleeping for less than five hours a day increases the risk of developing hypertension or worsens already existent hypertension. Obstructive sleep apnea increases the risk of high blood pressure, states Mayo Clinic.

During sleep blood pressure drops by 15 points, and the heart's work reduces. Research shows that sleeping for less than six hours activates the hypothalamic pituitary-adrenal system and the sympathomedullary system. This results in increased release of adrenaline and cortisol, leading to hypertension that is difficult to treat. Improve blood pressure by using treatment options such as continuous positive airway pressure for sleep apnea and cognitive behavioral therapy to treat insomnia, according to Everyday Health.

Sleep deprivation increases the risk developing other health problems such as stroke, diabetes, irregular heartbeat, heart attack and heart disease. Sleep deprivation also reduces sex drive. Lack of sleep also stimulates sugar and carbohydrate cravings, leading to excessive weight gain that is a precursor for high blood pressure, says WebMD.

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