Just a little extra sleep could improve blood pressure levels for people with hypertension, according to a small new study.
Research published in the Journal of Sleep Research shows that for people with prehypertension and hypertension and who also get fewer than seven hours of sleep a night, getting an extra hour of sleep each night is linked with significantly improved blood pressure levels.
The study included 22 people who either had prehypertension or stage 1 hypertension, who all regularly got fewer than seven hours of sleep each night. They were assigned to one of two groups for six weeks: One group had their sleep durations increased by one hour every night, while the other group aimed to go to bed at the same time every night (habitual bedtimes).
Researchers monitored blood pressure and took blood and urine samples before and after the study.
After the study, researchers found that increasing sleep duration by an hour was linked with significantly decreased blood pressure levels. Maintaining a habitual bedtime was also linked with decreased blood pressure levels, though they were not statistically significant.
"While these preliminary findings have to be interpreted with caution due to the small sample size, they encourage future investigations to test whether behavioral interventions designed to increase sleep duration serve as an effective strategy in the treatment of hypertension," researchers wrote in the study.
This is not the first time sleep (or lack thereof) has been linked with blood pressure. A study published last year in the journal Hypertension showed that not getting enough deep sleep is associated with increased blood pressure among older men, CNN reported.