Lack of Slow-Wave Sleep is Linked to High Blood Pressure Risk!

Posted by Mama Yauk Wednesday, August 31, 2011 0 comments

Nassau University Medical Center
2201 Hempstead Turnpike, East Meadow, NY 11554     516-572-5809
 * * * Press Release ***

There are four stages of sleep; light sleep, decreased awareness and two stages of slow-wave sleep.

Light sleep is the drowsy transition between wakefulness and sleep. It is characterized by slowly rolling eye movements and the ability to awaken easily (Nutrition Review).

Decreased awareness sleep is when your sensory awareness is reduced as the brain disengages from the external environment and is marked by slower brain waves, interspersed with rapid waves (Nutrition Review).

Finally, slow-wave sleep, the final stage of non-REM sleep. Slow-wave sleep is described with very low heart and respiratory rates, extremely slow brain waves and a complete lack of eye movement or muscle activity. During this phase, the body is able to direct its resources to regenerate tissues, build bones and muscle, recharge energy and strengthen the immune system (Nutrition Review).
According to a recent article posted by USA Today, poor sleep increases high blood pressure risk for adults.

A study found that men with the lowest level of the deeper stages of sleep (slow-wave sleep) had an 80% higher chance of developing high blood pressure than those with the highest level of slow-wave sleep (USA Today).

Dr. Susan Redline, the Peter C. Farrell Professor of Sleep Medicine at Bringham & Women’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, evaluated 784 men, average age 75, who were part of the Outcome of Sleep Disorders in Older Men Study. She found that 243 of them developed high blood pressure within two-four years (USA Today).   

After researchers took into account age, race, body mass index, obesity and length of sleep, the link between low levels of slow-wave sleep and high-blood pressure held.

Dr. Redline told USA Today “Slow-wave sleep decreases with age.” Additionally she found that the men averaged “11.2 percent of slow-wave sleep… Those in the lowest of the four groups averaged only 4 percent or less.”

So, as you grow older, you should focus on getting more “slow-wave-sleep,” to help decrease your risk of having high blood pressure. Allowing yourself to be free of disturbance when lying down will help bring you through the four stages of non-REM sleep, and help keep your chances of high-blood pressure at a minimum.

“Reductions in the deepest stage of sleep is specifically associated with an increased risk of developing high blood pressure,” quotes Dr. Reline. 

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