Poor sleep 'poses health risks'

Poor sleep quality greatly increases the risk of high blood pressure in older men, a study has found.

A lack of deep sleep was found to raise the risk by 80% over a period of 3.4 years.



Researchers measured how long 784 men with an average age of 75 spent in "slow wave sleep" (SWS), a deep stage of sleep from which it is difficult to awaken.



Those for whom SWS took up less than 4% of sleep time were significantly more likely to develop high blood pressure, or hypertension.



They also had generally poorer sleep quality as measured by shorter sleep duration, more awakenings at night, and more severe sleep apnoea - a sleep-related breathing problem.



The findings, reported in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension, were not influenced by body weight despite many of the men being overweight or obese.



Obesity is a well-recognised risk factor for high blood pressure.



"Our study shows for the first time that poor quality sleep, reflected by reduced slow wave sleep, puts individuals at significantly increased risk of developing high blood pressure, and that this effect appears to be independent of the influence of breathing pauses during sleep," said Professor Susan Redline at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, US.



Prof Redline also co-led a separate investigation, the Sleep Heart Health Study, which showed that men were likely to have less SWS than women.



The results suggest that poorer sleep in men may partly explain why they are more prone to high blood pressure.



"Although women were not included in this study, it's quite likely that those who have lower levels of slow wave sleep for any number of reasons may also have an increased risk of developing high blood pressure," said Prof Redline.



Slow wave sleep is believed to be important to learning and memory and linked to a range of physiological functions.



Prof Redline pointed out that good quality sleep was the third pillar of health after diet and exercise.



She said: "People should recognise that sleep, diet and physical activity are critical to health, including heart health and optimal blood pressure control. Although the elderly often have poor sleep, our study shows that such a finding is not benign. Poor sleep may be a powerful predictor for adverse health outcomes. Initiatives to improve sleep may provide novel approaches for reducing hypertension burden."



Natasha Stewart, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: "Whilst this study does suggest a link between lack of sleep and the development of high blood pressure, it only looked at men aged over 65. We would need to see more research in other age groups and involving women to confirm this particular association.



"However, we do know more generally that sleep is essential for staying healthy. It's important we all try to make sleep a priority and get our six to eight hours of shut-eye a night."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Arts and Entertainment
Convicted art fraudster John Myatt
art

Life and Style
fashion

News
The Magna Carta
archaeologyContemporary account of historic signing discovered
News
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleFormer Newsnight presenter is being touted for a brand new role
Arts and Entertainment
Johnny Depp no longer cares if people criticise his movie flops
films
Arts and Entertainment
All in a day's work: the players in the forthcoming 'Posh People: Inside Tatler'
TVGrace Dent thinks we should learn to 'hug a Hooray Henry', because poshness is an accident of birth
News
The two-year-old said she cut off her fringe because it was getting in her eyes
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager - Expo

    £30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our Client has been the leader ...

    h2 Recruit Ltd: Sales Manager - Aesthetic Medical Devices - £80,000 OTE

    £45000 - £80000 per annum + car + benefits: h2 Recruit Ltd: A market leader in...

    h2 Recruit Ltd: Field Sales Engineer - Welding Supplies - £45,000 OTE

    £25000 - £45000 per annum + car: h2 Recruit Ltd: A fantastic and unique Field ...

    h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - Medical Lasers - £80,000 OTE

    £45000 - £80000 per annum + benefits: h2 Recruit Ltd: A global market leader i...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

    Christmas Appeal

    Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
    Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

    Is it always right to try to prolong life?

    Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

    What does it take for women to get to the top?

    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
    Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

    Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

    Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
    French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

    French chefs campaign against bullying

    A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

    Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
    Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

    Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

    Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
    Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

    Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

    Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
    Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

    Paul Scholes column

    I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
    Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game