We all know how it feels to wake up after a restless night of sleep. You may feel groggy, sleepy, maybe you have a headache. But what you may not realize is that your lack of sleep may also be affecting your heart health. May is National Blood Pressure Education Month. If you struggle to get a good night’s sleep each night, you may be at risk for high blood pressure. Take some steps this month to educate yourself on your own risk factors and take action to keep your heart healthy.

What is Hypertension?

High blood pressure, or hypertension, occurs when your body has built up too much resistance in your arteries, making it very difficult to pump blood throughout your body. Your heart has to work harder and becomes strained and unable to function at its optimum capacity.

If not addressed, hypertension can affect your health by increasing your risk for heart disease, stroke and congestive heart failure, among other problems.

The good news is that hypertension is highly treatable with a healthy diet, productive sleep habits, and exercise. It’s also important to have your blood pressure checked regularly to help catch the symptoms of high blood pressure early.

Hypertension and Sleep

There is a clear link between a person’s sleep patterns and their risk for high blood pressure. A recent study found that people who get less than six hours of sleep a night were 20 percent more likely to have hypertension. By getting the correct amount of sleep each night, you can avoid this issue.

Another recent study showed that people who get less than six hours of sleep were shown to have higher blood pressure the next day as compared to those who got the recommended amount of sleep the night before. This pattern, continued over time only works to compound the issues and increase the risk for hypertension.

If you happen to suffer from sleep apnea, your risk for developing hypertension may be even greater. When suffering from hypertension and sleep apnea together, the amount of oxygen flowing through the body is reduced even further. Sleep apnea can increase blood pressure by reducing the amount of oxygen coming into the body. As your blood pressure climbs, so does your risk for serious heart and health issues.

How to Fight Hypertension with Sleep

If your doctor finds that you suffer from hypertension, he or she will recommend some simple lifestyle changes to reduce your blood pressure. While most patients are quick to adjust their diet and exercise habits, many tend to neglect to change their sleep patterns. Your quantity and quality of sleep is directly related to your blood pressure levels, and it’s important to get a good night’s sleep every night if you wish to maintain a healthy blood pressure.

If you find yourself struggling to sleep at night, it may be time to consult a sleep specialist. Contact us today to learn more about our sleep services and find a treatment plan that works for you!