Older men who regularly miss out on deep, restorative sleep have an 80 percent increased risk of developing high blood pressure, according to a study out this week in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension.
Researchers used in-home sleep monitors to measure how long and well 784 men 65 and older slept. After an average of 3.4 years, 243 men had developed high blood pressure. Men who spent less than 4 percent of their sleep time in of slow-wave sleep, considered the deeper, restorative stage of sleep, had the highest risk of developing high blood pressure. In addition, men with reduced slow-wave sleep had shorter sleep duration, more awakenings at night, and more severe sleep apnea.
Nearly a third of U.S. adults have high blood pressure, and the risk if higher in seniors—65 percent of people 60 years and older have been diagnosed with high blood pressure. What’s more, sleep disorders and poor quality sleep are more common in older adults than in younger ones.
Other research has linked poor sleep to an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, not to mention drowsiness and brain fog.
Bottom line: Aim for 7 to 9 hours of good quality sleep each night. If you’re having trouble getting to sleep and staying there, brush up on your sleep hygiene—avoid big meals and caffeine late in the day, go to sleep and wake up at the same times each day, turn off the tech, and even consider getting a new mattress.
As for reducing your high blood pressure risk, lifestyle measures such as cutting back on salt, exercising regularly, and losing excess weight can help.
Decreased Slow Wave Sleep Increases Risk of Developing Hypertension in Elderly Men [Hypertension]