Too Many Bad Nights Can Cause High Blood Pressure
Working on stress management should begin with getting a good night's sleep. How successful you are at sleeping has two biometrics to rate it: Sleep Duration and Sleep Quality.
Ideally you should sleep between 7 and 8 hours each night. Both too much sleep or not enough is unhealthy for you.
A recent study found that the quality of your sleep, specifically the amount of deep sleep, was likewise important for good health. People who know how to get good deep sleep always wake up feeling refreshed, energized and restored. Those who don't usually end up feeling tired and groggy. Other research has shown that memory consolidation of the days' events will improve for better memory. In addition, human growth hormone (HGH) is released during slow-wave sleep.
Reductions in the deepest stage of sleep, known as slow-wave sleep (SWS), in this study was found to be associated with an increased risk of developing high blood pressure, by as much as 80 percent.
How To Get Better Sleep
There are four different stages of sleep. Stages three and four are considered by scientists as deep slow-wave sleep. This non-REM sleep is marked by very low heart and respiratory rates, extremely slow brain waves and a complete lack of eye movement or muscle activity. The amount of slow-wave sleep obtained by people will naturally decrease as you get older. Children typically experience 40 percent of their total sleep time sleeping deeply while older adults typically experience only about 25 percent as slow-wave sleep.
Strategies for Deeper Slow-Wave Sleep
This latest study naturally brings up the topic of how to increase the amount of deep sleep that you experience each night. Obviously, anything that wakes you up repeatedly will disrupt your slow-wave sleep patterns. Hence avoiding fluids, alcohol, and caffeine in the evening and before bed would be advisable.
Some other effective methods include increasing your body temperature, eating some carbohydrates such as a small slice of apple pie, and participating in some form of an intense prolonged exercise in the afternoon.
Sleeping with an electric blanket, invented by the health pioneer John Harvey Kellogg, during the cooler months of the year, or with blankets during the summer is an easy way to increase your body temperature.
- Decreased slow wave sleep increases risk of developing hypertension in elderly men.
Fung MM, Peters K, Redline S, ...
Hypertension. 2011 Oct;58(4):596-603. Epub 2011 Aug 29.