MONDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- If you sleep poorly, your chances of developing high blood pressure may increase, new research suggest.
In the study, men with the lowest level of the deeper stages of slumber, known as slow-wave sleep, had an 80 percent higher chance of developing high blood pressure than men with the highest level of this restorative sleep.
The link held regardless of other factors, such as obesity or how long the men slept.
"Reductions in the deepest stage of sleep is specifically associated with an increased risk of developing high blood pressure," said Dr. Susan Redline, the Peter C. Farrell Professor of Sleep Medicine at Brigham & Women's Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School.
The study, published in the Aug. 29 online edition of the journal Hypertension, reinforces other research that has linked sleep problems with a raised risk of obesity and cardiovascular problems, among other ills.
Redline evaluated 784 men, average age 75, who were part of the Outcomes of Sleep Disorders in Older Men Study. In 2003-05, the men did not have high blood pressure. Ideally, blood pressure readings should be below 120/80. When they returned for a follow up in 2007-09, the investigators found that 243 men had developed high blood pressure.
The researchers divided the men into four groups, from those with the lowest amount of slow-wave sleep to the highest.
After the researchers took into account age, race, body mass index and other factors, the link between low slow-wave sleep and higher blood pressure held. Even when the researchers took into account sleep-disordered breathing and the length of overall sleep, the link held.
Slow-wave sleep decreases with age, Redline said. "Kids may have 40 percent slow-wave sleep [of total sleep]," she said, but healthy adults, overall, may have only abou
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