According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep is integral for your health.
You may not be aware of the impact a lack of sleep can have on your health. Studies have shown that there does seem to be a significant correlation between high blood pressure and sleep deprivation. Indeed, according to research less than six hours of sleep each night could trigger an increase in blood pressure. Similarly, if you are sleeping five hours or less each night you could be at more risk of developing high blood pressure or cause an existing condition to get more severe.
Why Is This?
Research suggests that the level of sleep plays a crucial part in helping the blood regulate stress hormones. This in turn ensures that the nervous system remains healthy. As such, it is somewhat expected that a low level of sleep could negatively affect stress hormones and cause blood pressure to rise.
As such, those who are experiencing a low level of sleep through the night could be more at risk of everything from cardiovascular disease to coronary heart disease. This could be a risk regardless of your general levels of health including whether you smoke, how much you exercise or how much you weigh.
Watch this quick video on the association between sleeping issues like sleep apnea and cardiovascular health.
What Stops You From Sleeping?
With the potential risk of both high blood pressure and heart disease connected to a lack of sleep, it is perhaps worth exploring the causes of your lack of rest. One main cause that is completely treatable could be sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a condition which will cause you to stop and start breathing while you are asleep throughout the night. You may not realize that you are doing this. A common sign or symptom would be feeling exhausted when you wake up in the morning and potentially experiencing severe headaches.
It’s worth pointing out that during episodes where you stop breathing due to sleep apnea, your brain does release stress hormones. These hormones then raise both your heart rate and your blood pressure. It is for this reason that sleep apnea has been linked to both high blood pressure and potentially heart failure. If you already have difficulty with your heart sleep apnea can make the problem worse as well. Insomnia will trigger a stress response and this will gradually weaken your heart over time.
One study found that through a period of eight years, men with sleep apnea were 58% more likely to develop congestive heart failure compared to those without this particular disorder. While one might expect this to only expect older men, studies also show that adolescents who struggle to sleep well are more at risk of developing cardiovascular issues as well. Furthermore, issues like this in childhood can snowball to become greater problems later on in life.
Obstructive sleep apnea can be treated with minor surgery. This could stop a lack of sleep from causing high blood pressure as well as other illnesses such as heart disease.
If you believe that you are suffering from sleep apnea, speak to an expert to gain a diagnosis and explore possible treatment options.