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Sleep well for your heart’s sake

Not getting enough sleep can actually raise your risk of high blood pressure. Researchers from Penn State College of Medicine found that people who have insomnia or who experience poor sleep have an increased risk for hypertension. The study looked at 1,741 adults who spent the night in a sleep lab. Seventy percent of the participants were normal sleepers who slept more than six hours a night; 8 percent had been dealing with insomnia for at least a year; and 22 percent were poor sleepers who had difficulty falling or staying asleep or had poor sleep quality.

The results? Insomniacs who slept less than five hours a night were five times more likely to have hypertension than normal sleepers who slept more than six hours. Insomnia sufferers who slept five to six hours a night were 3.5 times more likely to have high blood pressure. The risk among people who had insomnia but slept for more than six hours a night was similar to that of the normal sleepers. Bottom line: Get a good night’s sleep—it’s important for your health.