Are You Triggering High Blood Pressure While You Sleep?
Less Sleep Associated with High, Worsening Blood Pressure
According to a new study carried out by Dr. Rachel Ben-Shlomo of the University of Haifa-Oranim and with Prof. Charalambos P. Kyriacou of the University of Leicester, just one “pulse” of artificial light at night disrupts circadian cell division.
“Damage to cell division is characteristic of cancer, and it is therefore important to understand the causes of this damage,” notes Dr. Ben-Shlomo. (Read on to see how to avoid this and high blood pressure.)
The current research was carried out by placing lab mice in an environment where they were exposed to light for 12 hours and dark for 12 hours. During the dark hours, one group of mice was given artificial light for one hour. Changes in the expression of genes in the rodents’ brain cells were then examined.
Earlier studies that Dr. Ben-Shlomo carried out found that the cells’ biological clock is affected, and in the present research, she revealed that the mode of cell division is also harmed and that the transcription of a large number of genes is affected. She states it is important to note that those genes showing changes in their expression included genes connected to the formation of cancer as well as genes that assist in the fight against cancer.
Sleep Deprivation and Health Effects
I know how hard it is to remember even a fraction of what we read. So, here’s reminder of some information and advice I gave you in Life Extension Express about quality sleep.
Losing sleep for even part of one night can trigger the key cellular pathway that produces tissue-damaging inflammation. Your body perceives sleep deprivation as stress and responds by producing deadly stress chemicals. A single night of reduced sleep significantly impairs your ability to function. As you add days, impairment becomes cumulative.
As a result, this sleep deprivation:
- Spikes your blood pressure
- Increases mood swings, stress and irrationality
- Reduces your ability to adapt to change
- Impairs performance
- Saps your energy
- Slows reactions and impairs memory, judgment and decision making no matter what you do.
Worse, you are often the last to notice or admit it. This has been clearly proven in clinical studies as well as in brain scans.
Quality sleep helps your blood regulate stress hormones, which maintains your nervous system. Over time, a lack of sleep could hurt your body’s ability to regulate high blood pressure. Aim for 7-8 hours a night of quality sleep.
Even more alarming is, lack of sleep contributes to:
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart Disease
- Weakened immune system
Also, a single night of sleeping just four, five or even six hours can impact your ability to think clearly. Sleep deprivation can cause changes in your brain activity similar to those experienced by people with psychiatric disorders.
So, lack of adequate sleep is definitely pro-aging. And if that’s not enough reason to get enough quality sleep, consider the fact that sleep deprivation makes you a less active lover.
Quality Sleep Solutions
The average person needs seven to eight hours of quality sleep a night. Some need more, and some need less. That means deep, undisturbed sleep.
Helpful hints for stress-free deep, rejuvenating quality sleep:
- Get regular exercise, but do not exercise shortly before going to bed.
- Adopt a regular schedule for quality sleep.
- Keep your TV out of your bedroom.
- Go to bed earlier and get up earlier, rather than going to bed later and getting up later.
- If you drink coffee or tea, drink them early in the day.
- Reduce interruptive noise, even if you need to use some type of white noise machine. Heavy drapes can also reduce noise.
- Keep your bedroom as dark as possible.
- If you normally get up during the night to urinate, stop drinking liquids late in the day, and urinate right before bedtime.
- If you drink, do not have more than one or two alcoholic beverages in the evening. Excess alcohol disturbs your quality sleep cycle.
- Take a warm bath before bed.
- Keep your bedroom cool, under 70° F.
- Use a deep relaxation technique, or listen to a deep relaxation audio right before sleep.
- Quit working at least an hour before turning in to give your mind time to unwind.
- Supplement with: melatonin; sleep-inducing herbs such as kava, chamomile, valerian and/or ziziphus spinosa; 200-500 mg of calcium citrate; or 200-400 mgs of magnesium citrate right before bedtime.
Sleep allows the heart to slow down and blood pressure to drop for a significant part of the day. However, people with sleep deprivation raise their average 24-hour blood pressure and heart rate. This may set up the cardiovascular system to operate at an elevated pressure. Those who lack quality sleep continue to be significantly more likely to be diagnosed with high blood pressure if they are sleeping five or fewer hours per night.