Simply getting an extra hour or so of shuteye might help lower your blood pressure. A study published online on November 22, 2012 by the Journal of Sleep Research suggested that individuals with high blood pressure or prehypertension could bring their pressure down if they got an extra hour of sleep per night. The study was small (only 22 patients participated), but it indicated that an extra hour of sleep at night could make a significant difference in blood pressure, particularly for patients who habitually get seven or less hours of sleep a night. Patients were assigned to one of two groups. The first group was instructed to sleep one hour more than they usually did, while the second group was told only to go to bed at the same time every night. The investigators reported that participants who added an hour to their nightly sleep lowered their blood pressure significantly. Blood pressure also dropped among those who went to bed at the same time every night, but the change wasn’t deemed significant. The findings are considered preliminary because of the study’s small size, but the researchers said that more research along these lines might show that increased sleep is an effective strategy in the treatment of hypertension.
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