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Women who Sleep Less are More Prone to High Blood Pressure: Study

In an important study scheduled to be presented at the American College of Cardiology's Annual Scientific Session on  April 6-8, 2024, in Atlanta, researchers discovered a substantial link between poor sleep and the development of high blood pressure over time. The study, led by Dr. Kaveh Hosseini, assistant professor of cardiology at the Tehran Heart Centre in Iran, sheds light on sleep's critical role in cardiovascular health. It was also discovered that women who reported a lack of sleep were more likely than men to develop hypertension.

Drawing from data from 16 studies spanning from January 2000 to May 2023, the analysis encompassed 1,044,035 individuals across six countries. Participants, all lacking a prior history of high blood pressure, were tracked over a median follow-up period of five years, revealing compelling insights into the relationship between sleep patterns and hypertension.

The findings, which come as a wake-up call to sleep-deprived individuals worldwide, suggest that sleeping fewer than seven hours a night significantly escalates the risk of developing high blood pressure. 

Discussing the findings of the study, Dr Hosseini emphasised that this risk soared even higher, by a staggering 11 per cent among those reporting less than five hours of sleep.

"Our research underscores the importance of prioritising adequate sleep, with less than seven hours a night posing a notable risk factor for hypertension," stated Dr. Hosseini. 

"Interestingly, while longer sleep durations showed a trend towards increased hypertension risk, the association did not achieve statistical significance," he added.

A noteworthy revelation from the study was the gender-based disparity in the impact of sleep duration on hypertension risk. Females reporting less than seven hours of sleep exhibited a seven (7) per cent greater risk than their male counterparts. 

Dr Hosseini remarked about gender-specific findings, "This gender difference underscores the need for further investigation into the nuances of sleep-health dynamics."

The study, however, refrained from delving into the underlying mechanisms driving this association. Dr Hosseini speculated that disrupted sleep patterns arising from lifestyle habits, comorbid conditions, or sleep disorders could contribute to the heightened risk observed.

Acknowledging the study's limitations, including reliance on self-reported sleep duration and variations in defining short sleep duration, Dr. Hosseini stressed the imperative for further research employing more precise methods.

Dr Aayushi Sood, lead author and medical resident at The Wright Centre for Graduate Medical Education, emphasised the significance of the findings and called for heightened awareness regarding the crucial link between sleep and cardiovascular health.

As the world grapples with burgeoning rates of hypertension and related cardiovascular diseases, the study underscores the urgent need for prioritising healthy sleep habits and comprehensive research endeavours to unravel the intricacies of this vital relationship. With sleep emerging as a cornerstone of cardiovascular well-being, fostering a culture of sound sleep hygiene becomes paramount to safeguarding global health.

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