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Sleep an Hour Extra to Lower Your Blood Pressure

Update Date: Dec 06, 2012 01:45 PM EST

A new study suggests that sleeping an hour earlier every day could help lower down high blood pressure.

According to researchers, just 6 weeks of practicing early to bed routine considerably lowered signs of high blood pressure in volunteers.

The study was carried out at Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA, and included observation of people who regularly slept for only seven hours or lesser every night, and were at the borderline of high blood pressure.

Reduced hours of sleep and stress have long been associated risk of high blood pressure. However, this study is the first to have proven that blood pressure can be controlled simply by increasing the sleep duration, Mail Online reports.

For the research, 22 middle aged men and women were recruited.

These participants all had prehypertension, (a condition close to reaching high readings of blood pressure) and reportedly slept for sleep seven hours or less a night.

Thirteen of the participants were asked to increase their sleep timings for the next six weeks by an hour while others were asked to follow their normal sleep routine.

It was found that the group that was asked to extend sleep timings, managed to get about 35 minutes extra on bed and with their blood and urine tests and blood pressure readings, the researchers were able to establish that their average blood pressure readings dropped sharply.

Lesser sleep affects the body's ability to deal with stress hormones that can drive up blood pressure, the report says.

"These preliminary findings have to be interpreted with caution. But future investigations should look at whether increasing sleep duration serves as an effective strategy in the treatment of hypertension," the authors said.

The results were published in the Journal of Sleep Research.

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