10/27/2011 02:57 pm ET | Updated Dec 27, 2011

Blood Pressure Meds At Night Could Lower Heart Risk, Study Finds

By Katherine Harmon
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The stress of the day, from morning traffic to the evening news, can make anyone's blood pressure rise. And about one in three U.S. adults has high blood pressure—a condition that increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Many people figure it's best to keep on top of day-to-day hypertension by taking all their blood pressure medications in the morning. But recent research suggests it might actually be nighttime blood pressure levels that are more important for overall heart health. And a new study finds that people who took at least one of their hypertension meds before bed were much less likely to have had a major cardiac event, such as a heart attack or stroke. The findings are described in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. [Ramón Hermida et al, Bedtime Dosing of Antihypertensive Medications Reduces Cardiovascular Risk in CKD]

After being followed for an average of about five and a half years, people who were taking at least one of their blood pressure meds before bed were only about a third as likely to have had serious circulatory problems as other patients. So just changing a small daily habit could lead to hearty rewards.