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Burning the Candle At Both Ends Raises Blood Pressure!

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What is the cost of doing “just one more thing?”

We all do it. Get up a little early, or stay up a little later, to get just one more thing done. Lack of sleep is a given for most women, but a new study suggests that our burning the candle at both ends can dangerously raise blood pressure.

While we need between seven and nine hours of sleep, few of us actually get that much. Six hours per night seems to be the magic number. People who get less than six hours are endangering their health.

“If you compare six hours of sleep to five hours of sleep, the five-hour sleepers will have 37 percent greater odds of developing hypertension,” said Kristen Knutson of the University of Chicago, reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

How can you get a better night’s sleep?

- Get some exercise. Moving around during the day will wear you out and help you sleep. However, avoid exercise (except for gentle stretching) within two hours of bed time. Exercise revs you up and will make it difficult to fall asleep.

- Get some light. Help your body figure out when it is time to be awake and time to sleep. Get some natural light during the day and then dim the lights as you head to bed.

- Get on schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Allow your body to get into a routine. Napping and sleeping in mess up you body’s schedule and should be limited.

- Get comfy. Set yourself up for success with a bed and bedroom designed just for sleep. Avoid watching television, working, eating or writing out your list of things to do while on your bed. Allow your brain and body to associate your bed with sleep — and well … sex only.

- Get quiet. Spend the last 30 minutes before you turn out the light in calm and peace. Read something light and entertaining, listen to calming music or meditate. Often laying out clothes for the morning or writing a list of things to do before you start the quiet time can help you let go of worries and relax.

Helpful links:

Get more tips for a good night’s sleep at HelpGuide.org.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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