Struggling to get those 40 winks at night? It could be linked to high blood pressure (or hypertension), according to a new study.

The American Heart Association's findings showed that for people who already have high blood pressure, insomnia can have serious consequences.

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  • Breathe

    "Shut your eyes and focus on your breathing as it becomes slower and deeper. This makes your body more relaxed."

  • Switch Off

    "Finish everything you have to do on your computer by 10pm. Switch off mobiles and PCs and leave them outside of the bedroom so you're not tempted to answer texts or emails."

  • Have A Bath (Not Shower)

    "Take a long, hot bath before going to bed. This helps relax and soothe your muscles. Showers, on the other hand, tend to wake you up. Insomniacs should avoid showers in the evening."

  • Never Oversleep

    "Never oversleep because of a poor night's sleep. Get up at about the same time every day, especially on the morning after you've lost sleep. Sleeping late for just a couple of days can reset your body clock to a different cycle and you'll get sleepy later and wake up later.

  • Eat Early

    "Don't go to bed on a full stomach - make your final meal before 9pm."

  • Create A Story

    "Create a story in your head and allow your imagination to experience that story."

  • Don't Worry

    "Don't go to bed worrying about anxieties or concerns. They can wait until tomorrow."

  • Avoid Caffeine And Tyrosine

    "Caffeine, a chemical in coffee, tea and chocolate causes hyperactivity and wakefulness. Some sleep laboratories encourage people to avoid such tyrosine-laden foods as fermented cheeses such as cheddar cheese, ripe avocados, some imported beers and fermented meats (bologna, pepperoni, salami). Also avoid red wines, especially chianti."

Researchers studied the sleeping patterns of 234 people with high blood pressure. Most participants slept six or fewer hours, and those who also reported poor sleep quality were twice as likely to have resistant hypertension as those who slept well.

Your blood pressure is considered resistant if you are taking three or more blood pressure medications but still have a reading higher than 140/90 mmHg

Women were more likely to report lower sleep quality than men. The researchers concluded that those with high blood pressure were more likely to have sleep problems, and poor sleep quality in high blood pressure patients was associated with resistant hypertension. More study is needed to clarify the cause.

See also:

Electronic Devices In Bed May Cause Insomnia

How Dirty Are You? Quarter Of Brits Sleep In Soiled Bed Sheets

The research was presented at the High Blood Pressure Research 2012 Scientific Sessions annual conference in Washington.

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