Research: Poor sleep worsens hypertension

heart and stethoscopeAccording to a new study funded by the University of Pisa in Italy, insomnia can have serious consequences for people who already have high blood pressure.

Studying the sleeping patterns of 234 people with high blood pressure, researchers found that most participants slept six or fewer hours. Those who also suffered from poor sleep quality were twice as likely to have resistant hypertension as those who slept well.

A person’s blood pressure is considered resistant if he is taking three or more blood pressure medications but still has a blood pressure reading higher than 140/90. Women were more likely to report poorer sleep quality than men. The average age of the participants was 58.

Researchers concluded that those with high blood pressure were more likely to have sleep problems, and poor sleep quality in high blood pressure patients was associated with resistant hypertension. The study didn’t examine potential causes.

Results were presented at the American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure Research 2012 Scientific Sessions in Washington, D.C., in September.