Disturbed sleep can raise women’s blood pressure

The importance of sleep is becoming ever more recognised as the foundation of wellness. It’s been established for some time that insufficient sleep increases blood pressure, and, therefore, the risk of heart-related diseases. Now a new study has found that even minor sleep disturbances can increase the risk of high blood pressure in women, even when they slept for the recommended amount of time.

Disturbed sleep patterns are more common in women for many reasons – they are more likely to be carers for children and elderly relatives, while monthly shifts in hormones and across their lifespan also play a role – so researchers from Columbia University decided to research the impact. The results revealed that women who displayed even relatively minor sleep problems — including those who slept for 7–9 hours each night — were more likely to have elevated blood pressure. In other words, even when the amount of sleep was at recommended levels, sleep disturbances still increased the risk of hypertension. The researchers concluded that even in the absence of sleep deprivation mild sleep disturbances such as poor sleep quality, prolonged time to fall asleep, and insomnia are associated with increased blood pressure and vascular inflammation in women.

With quality of sleep as important as duration, preparation for a good night’s sleep now seems essential:

Create a ‘sleep time’ and space

Keep it on the cool side – at least a few degrees centigrade lower than ‘waking space’

Banish televisions, phones, Ipads

Avoid caffeine in the evenings and go light on alcohol

Banish night-time snacks

Make eating real food Just Routine

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