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Lack of Sleep Now Linked to High Blood Pressure

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Persistent insomnia can be hazardous to over all health, sleep experts recently warned. It seems a lack of Z’s, beyond simply causing dark circles under the eyes or flagging energy by midday, is linked to more serious issues such as high blood pressure (hypertension).

According to a study from the Sleep Research and Treatment Center at Pennsylvania State College of Medicine, people who routinely get less than five hours of sleep each night were five times more likely to have hypertension than people who have no trouble sleeping and get at least six hours of sleep each night.

The lead author Alexandros N. Vgontzas, M.D. and colleagues, estimate that up to ten percent of the U.S. population may be at risk for hypertension and other medical conditions related to chronic sleeplessness such as anxiety and depression.

Most people have inaccurate perceptions about the amount of sleep they get, so the researchers evaluated the sleep patterns of more than 1,700 volunteers by videotaping them while they slept overnight at the center.

“Many times the amount that we feel we slept is different from the actual amount,” said Vgontzas. “Thus self-reported sleep duration cannot replace measured sleep duration.”

“The findings make it clear that insomnia can have real medical consequences, and is not just a disorder of the ‘worried well’," Dr. Vgontzas says in a Reuters Health article.

For more details on this report, click on:
Vgontzas, A., et al., “Insomnia with Objective Short Sleep Duration is Associated with a High Risk for Hypertension,” Sleep, 32 (4), 2009.

Harding, A., “Insomnia Boosts Short Sleeper’s Hypertension Risk,” April 2, 2009. Reuter’s Health http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSTRE5307OR20090401?feedType=RSS&feedName=healthNews&rpc=22&sp=true%5C

See EmpowHer related links on this topic:
“Conditions In Depth: Insomnia” home page:

“Risk Factors for Insomnia” page:

For additional information, go to:
WEbMD article, “What is Insomnia?”

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