A review of evidence for the link between sleep duration and hypertension

Am J Hypertens. 2014 Oct;27(10):1235-42. doi: 10.1093/ajh/hpu071. Epub 2014 Apr 28.


There are lines of evidence from experimental sleep deprivation studies, population-based epidemiological studies, and an interventional study that point to the potential efficacy of adequate quality sleep to prevent and treat hypertension. Experimental sleep restriction has been shown to raise blood pressure and heart rate. Insufficient sleep on a chronic basis can raise average 24-hour blood pressure and lead to structural adaptations that entrain the cardiovascular system to operate at an elevated blood pressure equilibrium and increase the risk for hypertension. Disruptions in the timing and duration of sleep could also disrupt circadian rhythmicity and autonomic balance, which can increase the prevalence of the nondipping pattern, disturb diurnal rhythm of cardiac output, and increase blood pressure variability. Short sleep duration has been found to be associated with higher blood pressure and hypertension in both cross-sectional and longitudinal epidemiological studies. The association appears stronger in middle-aged adults and in women. Experimental sleep extension has been shown to significantly reduce blood pressure in individuals with prehypertension or stage 1 hypertension. The observed association between sleep duration and hypertension raises the hypothesis that interventions to extend sleep and improve sleep quality could serve as effective primary, secondary, and tertiary preventive measures for hypertension.

Keywords: blood pressure; circadian rhythm; epidemiology; hypertension; metabolic syndrome; sleep..

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Sleep / physiology
  • Sleep Deprivation / epidemiology*
  • Time Factors