Going to Bed Just Half An Hour Late Could Be Impacting Your Blood Pressure

Get that laptop shut.
Djavan Rodriguez via Getty Images

Are you guilty of saying ‘just one more episode before bed’?

As rewarding as that can be in the moment, turns out you could be increasing your risk of hypertension. Sigh. Nothing fun comes without its drawbacks and that includes staying up a cheeky half hour later than your usual bedtime.

Research from the medical journal Hypertension has found that going to bed even just 34 minutes later than usual significantly increases your risk of high blood pressure.

The study, which was conducted over nine months, looked at people with irregular sleep patterns to discover whether these patterns were linked to an increased risk of hypertension, or high blood pressure.

Irregular Sleeping Patterns Can Lead to a Risk of High Blood Pressure

The study followed the sleeping patterns of 12,287 adults between the ages of 38 and 62 – 88% of which were men and all of them were described by researchers as being overweight. This research was conducted using a combination of an under-the-mattress sleep measuring device and monitoring blood pressure recordings regularly to make the connection.

Their research found that an irregular sleeping pattern can lead to a 9% to 17% increased risk of high blood pressure, even if the sleep you eventually have is for a decent length of time – brutal, eh?

They also found that changing the time you go to bed from night to night – from as little as 34 minutes – could lead to a 32% increased risk of high blood pressure.

According to the NHS, one of the main things you can do to help poor sleeping habits is implementing a routine of going to bed and getting up at the same time every day. They say this teaches your body to sleep better. Who knew!?

Speaking to Healthline.com, Dr. Allen J. Taylor, chairman of cardiology at MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute said, ‘I think just like diet … sleep is something we all do every day. So like, we recommend any sort of lifestyle practices to improve our health. And that could include diet and exercise. Sleep is one of the strategies and stress [level] is another good example.’

What Other Factors Can Impact Blood Pressure?

According to the NHS, it’s not always entirely clear what causes high blood pressure but some things do increase your risk including:

  • Being overweight
  • Too much salt and not enough fruit and vegetables
  • Not exercising enough
  • Drinking too much caffeine or alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Being over 65
  • Having a relative that surfers with it
  • Are of black African or black Caribbean descent
  • Living in a deprived area

What Can I Do To Reduce My Blood Pressure?

Fortunately, there are ways to manage your blood pressure. Making some lifestyle changes can help with preventing hypertension including:

  • Reduce your salt intake and try to eat healthily
  • Cut back on alcohol consumption
  • Losing weight if you’re overweight
  • Regular exercise
  • Cut down on caffeine
  • Stop smoking

However, if you’re concerned about your blood pressure, your GP can help. Your GP can check your blood pressure and if it’s high, there’ll be medicines available to you and support available to help with lifestyle choices such as local stop smoking services.

How Can I Improve My Sleep?

If you’re struggling to have a regular sleeping pattern, there are things that you can do to help yourself. Going to bed and getting up at the same time will make a huge difference as will not using your phone in the hour before bed, reducing caffeine past 2pm, exercising more throughout the day and writing down any thoughts that usually keep you up at night and deal with them the next day.