Spending hours looking at the screen is a common phenomenon these days with more people succumbing to this screen-lit life! From study material to social media posts to work emails, we can’t help but look at our screens most of the day. However compromising on these sleeping hours can cause your blood pressure levels to shoot up. As per the National Institutes of Health, about 33 percent of the urban population and 25 percent of the rural Indians suffer from hypertension. Scroll down to understand the link between sleep deprivation and hypertension.
Health Shots asked Dr Samrat Shah, Internal Medicine Expert, Apollo Spectra, Pune, to explain the link.
How does sleep deprivation cause hypertension?
Sleep deprivation has long been associated with various health issues, including hypertension. Some studies have shown a direct link between lack of sleep and high blood pressure. A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension found that not getting enough can increase your blood pressure levels, and even increase the risk of heart disease.
Explaining the link, Dr Shah says, “When you don’t get enough quality sleep, your body produces more stress hormones like cortisol, which in turn increases blood pressure. Lack of sleep also disrupts the normal functioning of our blood vessels, making them less elastic and more prone to constriction. As a result, blood flow is compromised, and the heart has to work harder to pump oxygenated blood throughout the body.”
You can keep your blood pressure levels in check by improving your sleep patterns without medication, says the expert. This helps because your body repairs damaged blood vessels and regulates hormonal balance during deep sleep. If you prioritise regular and adequate sleep, you can potentially reduce the risk of developing hypertension but alleviate the symptoms associated with it.
Tips to get proper sleep at night
Since the best way to keep your blood pressure levels if sleep deprivation is the issue is getting proper sleep, you should improve your sleep patterns:
1. Establish a good sleep routine
Believe it or not, a relaxing routine can help you sleep properly. Dr Shah says that establishing a relaxing routine before bed can signal your body to relax and prepare for sleep.
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2. Avoid scrolling through social media
Whether you scroll through social media or watch TV before sleeping, it all disrupts your sleeping pattern. Studies have shown that spending long hours in front of the screen can lead to sleep deprivation, which can be the breeding ground for other diseases. The expert suggests engaging in activities that promote relaxation, such as reading a book, practising meditation or deep breathing exercises, or taking a warm bath. By dedicating at least 30 minutes each night to soothing activities, you’ll give your mind and body the chance to unwind and let go of stressors from the day.
3. Set the environment right
TV playing in the background with lights on is not exactly the best environment to have a quality sleep. Start by ensuring your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool enough to promote optimal sleep conditions. Consider investing in blackout curtains, earplugs, or a white noise machine if external factors like streetlights or noise disturb your sleep. Creating an ideal sleep sanctuary will offer you the best chances of achieving deep and uninterrupted slumber each night, says the expert.
4. Get regular exercise
Engaging in regular exercise has been proven to enhance both the duration and quality of sleep. However, timing is key. So, exercising too close to bedtime can stimulate your body and make it difficult for you to fall asleep quickly. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise in the day whether it’s walking/jogging outdoors or hitting the gym.
5. Avoid caffeine intake before going out
Try to avoid caffeine intake after 3 pm if having sleep issues, Go for an evening walk with your loved ones post-meal. Try to talk about positive things that happened during the day. Avoid having any sort of negative thoughts during this walk.
It is vital to recognise that lack of sleep can lead to hypertension, which is why it is important to establish healthy sleeping habits as part of maintaining overall heart health.