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These 6 Sleep Hygiene Tips Can Improve Your Blood Pressure and Overall Health

April 21, 2023

If you have trouble getting to sleep at night and also suffer from high blood pressure, there might be a connection.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggests adults get anywhere from seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Sleeping too little – or too much – can ultimately raise our blood pressure levels.

Anthony Sampino, DO, an internist in Oxford, explains how sleep quantity affects our blood pressure – and what you can do about it.

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The importance of a good night’s sleep

Regular and healthy sleeping habits are associated with our cardiovascular health. When asleep, our blood pressure drops about 15 percent due to nocturnal dipping, a natural phenomenon that is vital for a healthy heart.

“When we sleep too little, our body increases its production of cortisol, a stress hormone that inherently raises blood pressure and increases sugar concentration in our blood – both of which can be detrimental to our heart health,” explains Dr. Sampino.

The effects of poor sleep on our health

Poor sleep doesn’t just impact our blood pressure – it can cause a whole host of health issues.

“By continuing to get insufficient sleep, you can increase your risk of many different illnesses and can worsen your chronic disease status,” adds Dr. Sampino

The National Institute of Health links sleep deficiency to many chronic health problems including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Obesity
  • Depression

Luckily, there are steps you can take to ensure that you are getting a full night’s sleep, every night.

> Related: Are You Getting Enough Sleep? If Not, You Could Be at Risk for These Health Issues

Practicing good sleep hygiene

According to Dr. Sampino, the best way to optimize your sleeping habits is to practice good sleep hygiene.

Some basic tips for good sleep hygiene include:

  1. Get to sleep around the same time every night
  2. Aim for the recommendeddaily sleep requirement – at least 7 – 9 hours
  3. Turn off or avoid LED screens 30 – 60 minutes before your bedtime (think TV, tablet, computer, phone, etc.)
  4. Make sure there’s no light peeking into your room and that you’re sleeping in complete darkness
  5. Set your room to a cool temperature at night – not hot, but also not too cold
  6. Avoid activities while in bed, such as reading, watching TV, playing games, and going on your phone. Keep your bed as a place for sleep

“Practicing each of these habits will help your brain to associate your physical bed and bedtime with sleeping, making it much easier for you to fall asleep and more importantly, stay asleep,” explains Dr. Sampino.

If you try all of the sleeping habits listed above and still have no luck falling asleep, Dr. Sampino recommends scheduling an appointment with your primary care provider for further guidance and suggestions.