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Get an early night!

7 December 2012

Get an early night!

Going to bed an hour earlier than normal could help to reduce high blood pressure in just 6 weeks. Researchers found that those showing early signs of high blood pressure could return to healthy levels with an extra hour in bed every night.

High blood pressure, which affects 20% of adults in the UK, is thought to be responsible for half of all heart attacks and strokes.  There are several drugs available on the NHS to try to treat the condition but many have poorly controlled blood pressure.  A lack of sleep and stressful lifestyle have long been thought to increase the risk of high blood pressure.

The study was carried out at Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA, and looked at 22 men and women who usually slept for 7 hours or less a night and were shown to have borderline high blood pressure readings.   Over the 6 weeks, 13 members of the group extended their sleeping pattern by getting in to bed an hour earlier than normal while the rest stuck to their usual routine.  The extended sleep caused the average reading for this group to drop dramatically.

The researchers said in a report, “These preliminary findings have to be interpreted with caution. But future investigations should look at whether increasing sleep duration serves as an effective strategy in the treatment of hypertension.”