This Significant New Study Draws a Direct Link Between Lack of Sleep and High Blood Pressure

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why can't I sleep

In decades past, we used to feel a little sleep-deprived and throw a quick fix, like a serious espresso at the problem. But now, we’re continuing to learn more about the extensive impact sleep deprivation has on our physical health, even if we think we can tough it out. A recent study shows that your risk of high blood pressure just might increase if you fail to get the sleep you need — especially if you’re a woman.

The study, which will be presented at the American College of Cardiology’s upcoming conference in April, includes data from 1,044,035 people in six different countries from January 2000 to May 2023. (1) It found that if you sleep fewer than seven hours at night, your chances of being diagnosed with high blood pressure or hypertension increase to 7 percent. Those who slept less than five hours at night found their risk increased to 11 percent. This data piles onto previous data showing that people with insomnia have a 21 percent higher risk of hypertension across 14 studies.

“Based on the most updated data, the less you sleep — that is less than seven hours a day—the more likely you will develop high blood pressure in the future,” said Dr. Kaveh Hosseini, principal investigator of the study, in a news release by the American College of Cardiology. (1) “We saw a trend between longer sleep durations and a greater occurrence of high blood pressure, but it was not statistically significant. Getting seven to eight hours of sleep, as is recommended by sleep experts, may be the best for your heart too.”

This study also found that age didn’t have an impact on the risk of developing hypertension, but gender did. In the study, women were at a 7 percent greater risk for developing high blood pressure compared to their male counterparts. Researchers want to investigate the disparity further to determine why this is happening.

The type of sleep you have might also impact your chances of hypertension. A previous study showed that napping actually increased the risk of high blood pressure and stroke, further complicating the relationship between sleep and these physical conditions.

A previous 2023 study from Columbia also found that even just one hour less of sleep impacts cardiovascular health and leads to inflammation. 

To ensure that you’re getting the proper amount of quality sleep, make sure you:

  • Give yourself time to wind down leading up to bed
  • Limit the use of screens in the hours leading up to bed and make your bedroom a screen-free zone
  • Create a bedtime routine, such as reading or bathing, to help signal to your body that bedtime is near
  • Keep your bedroom cool to help your body temperature stay low and you can sleep comfortably
  • Reduce light and sound in your bedroom to keep sleep disruptions to a minimum

It’s easy to assume you’ll eventually catch up on sleep, but the impact of sleep deprivation can influence your physical health far beyond the few days you feel tired. As more and more studies are proving, the relationship between quality sleep and our physical health is more interwoven than we might expect.

  • 1. American College of Cardiology; “Getting Too Little Sleep Linked to High Blood Pressure,”;; March 26, 2024.

Alexandra Frost

Alexandra Frost

Alexandra Frost is a Cincinnati-based freelance journalist, content marketing writer, copywriter, and editor focusing on health and wellness, parenting, real estate, business, education, and lifestyle. Away from the keyboard, Alex is also mom to her four sons under age 7, who keep things chaotic, fun, and interesting. For over a decade she has been helping publications and companies connect with readers and bring high-quality information and research to them in a relatable voice.  She has been published in the Washington Post, Huffington Post, Glamour, Shape, Today's Parent, Reader's Digest, Parents, Women's Health, and Insider.

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