This study was designed to test a hypothesis that patients with sleep apnea have higher blood pressure in the morning, following a night spent in apnea and hypoxemia, than in the evening. To accomplish this, we prospectively studied a set of 611 patients referred to our clinic because of suspicion of sleep apnea. All patients had full nocturnal polysomnography, including measurement of snoring. Blood pressure was measured in the evening, prior to onset of sleep, and in the morning, immediately on awakening. We found that patients without apnea and hypoxemia had lower blood pressure in the morning compared with the evening value, while patients with severe sleep apnea and hypoxemia had higher blood pressure in the morning; these evening-to-morning blood pressure differences, although statistically significant, were small, typically 1 to 4 mm Hg. Morning blood pressures were higher in patients with sleep apnea and hypoxemia than in nonapneic normoxic patients. However, this difference disappeared after the groups were matched for age and body mass index. We conclude that (1) patients with sleep apnea and nocturnal hypoxemia lose the expected morning dip in arterial blood pressure, and (2) age and body mass index are more important correlates of blood pressure than apnea and nocturnal oxygen desaturation. We speculate that the loss of evening-to-morning drop in blood pressure, if present over a long period of time, may lead to sustained elevations in arterial blood pressure frequently observed in patients with sleep apnea.