The findings of a new study have linked chronic insomnia to an increased risk of high blood pressure. It has been found that individuals who take more than 14 minutes to sleep (a condition known as hyperarousal) could be hypertensive.
“We observed a strong correlation between the degree of physiological hyperarousal and hypertension,” said Xiangdong Tang M.D., Ph.D, co- author of the study and professor of sleep medicine at West China Hospital, Sichuan University in Chengdu, China. “In other words, those insomniacs who were hyperalert during the day and unable to relax and fall asleep during the Multiple Latency Sleep Test (MSLT) had the higher risk of hypertension.”
Insomnia is among the most prevalent sleep disorders, and around one-third of the total population of the world is believed to be affected, while 10 percent have chronic complaints.
The researchers took in 219 insomniacs for the study and compared them to 96 normal sleepers and monitored them in a sleep lab. The study subjects were then taken in for MLST the next day, and found that around half of the participants took more than 14 minutes to sleep.
They then found that chronic insomnia could increase the odds of high blood pressure by a whopping 300 percent. “Long latency times to fall asleep during the day may be a reliable index of the physiological hyperarousal and biological severity of the disorder,” the researchers added.
“Although insomniacs complain of fatigue and tiredness during the day, their problem is that they cannot relax and that they are hyper,” the researchers concluded. “Measures that apply in sleep-deprived normal sleepers — napping, caffeine use or other stimulants to combat fatigue — do not apply in insomniacs. In fact, excessive caffeine worsens the hyperarousal.”