One of the deeper stages of sleep which is often referred to as SWS is characterized by non-rapid eye movement from which it is hard to awaken. It is represented by significantly slow, synchronized brain waves that are referred to as delta activity on an electroencephalogram. In a research from the Outcomes of Sleep Disorders in Older Men Study (MrOs Sleep Study), it revealed that people with the poorest level of SWS had an 80 percent increased risk of developing high blood pressure.
According to the study's co-author, Susan Redline, M.D. and Peter C. Farell, a professor of Sleep Medicine in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Beth Israel of Deacones Medical School, Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, the study reveals for the first time that low quality sleep, reflected by reduced slow wave sleep,sends individuals at greatly increased risk of developing high blood pressure and that the said effect seems to be independent of the influence of breathing pauses while sleeping.
Men who spent less than 4 percent of their sleep time in SWS were greatly more possibly to develop high blood pressure during the 3.4 years of the study. Men with lessened SWS had usually poorer sleep quality as measured by shorter sleep duration and more awakenings at night and had more serious sleep apnea than men with higher levels of SWS. Meanwhile, of all measures of sleep quality, reduced SWS was the most firmly associated with the development of high blood pressure. The said relation was seen even after considering other factors of sleep quality.
The researchers made a comprehensive and objective evaluation of sleep characteristics linked to high blood pressure in 784 men who didn't have hypertension. They were studied in their own home using standardized in-home sleep studies, or the so-called polysomnography, with brain wave activity measured and distinguished between REM and non-REM sleep and sleep apnea through measurement of breathing disturbances and oxygenation level while sleeping.
The researchers assessed a wide range of measurement of sleep disturbances, such as frequency of breathing disturbances, time in each sleep state, number of awakenings, sleep duration by using a central Sleep Reading Center directed by Redline.
The participants of the said study were an average of age 75 and about 90 percent were Caucasian. All were healthy and living in one of six communities, geographically representative of the United States.
Most commonly, older adults are more possibly to develop high blood pressure than younger people. Apparently, sleep disorders and poor quality sleep are more common in older adults than younger ones. The researchers further noted that obesity also comes along with hypertension.
Although the said study only includes men, it could also be possible that those women who have lower levels of slow wave sleep for any reason may also have an increased risk of developing high blood pressure.
Slow wave sleep has been implicated in learning and memory with previous data also stressing it significance to different psychological functions which includes metabolism and diabetes and neurohormonal systems affecting the sympathetic nervous system that is also a contributing factor to high blood pressure, according to the researchers.
God quality of sleep is very significant to one's health. People should be fully aware that sleep, diet and physical activity are crucial to health, including to heart health and normal blood pressure control. Although the elderly often suffer from sleep disorders, the study presents that such a finding is not benign. Poor sleep may be a strong predictor for adverse health results. Initiative to improve sleep may give novel approaches in reducing high blood problems.
To avoid sleep disorders, many older adults tend to seek comfort from natural sleep remedies that does not impose negative effects to one's health.