Thomas Ramey Watson

Sleep and Blood Pressure

Did you know there’s a bedroom habit that’s good for your blood pressure? No, we don’t mean that habit (though it may help, too). We mean the habit of getting a nice, deep sleep. Nothing feels more rejuvenating. And it turns out that getting enough good sleep (7 to 8 hours, night after night) is a key to keeping your blood pressure low (aim for 115/75).

If you’re barely getting 6 hours a night — all lots of people manage — just sleeping one more hour makes a big difference, because not getting that much increases your high blood pressure risk by a huge 37 percent. Why? When you don’t get enough sleep, your nervous system goes into overdrive, boosting your stress hormones and throwing your whole body into high gear. Your pupils dilate, your heart rate speeds up, your digestion slows, and — worse — not only does your blood pressure spike but, over time, those stress hormones turn temporary spikes into permanent high blood pressure.

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