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Sleep deprivation link to hypertension

4th April 2006

Missing out on sleep could increase the risk of developing high blood pressure, according to a new study.

Scientists at the Columbia University in New York found that people between the ages of 32 and 59 who slept for less that six hours each night were at twice the risk of developing hypertension than those who regularly got their heads down for a decent duration.

The findings, gleaned from a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and reported in the Hypertension journal, were also significant in subjects with high blood pressure due to obesity or diabetes.

"People who sleep for only short durations raise their average 24-hour blood pressure and heart rate," said lead author Dr James Gangwisch.

"This may set up the cardiovascular system to operate at an elevated pressure."

The researchers believe that the studies could potentially be vital for the treatment of hypertension in the future.

"If short sleep duration functions to increase blood pressure, then interventions that increase the amount and quality of sleep could potentially serve as treatments and as primary preventative measures for hypertension," the report concluded.