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Lack Of Sleep Linked To Hypertension In Teens

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Wednesday, August 20, 2008 4:17 AM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: FDA & Prescription Drugs, Teenagers, Hypertension, Sleep, High Blood Pressure


IMAGE SOURCE: © iStockphoto/ sleep / author: borisyankov

Teenagers who get insufficient amounts of sleep are at risk of developing hypertension, suggests a new study in the journal Circulation.

Studies show teens that sleep fewer than 6 ½ hours each night are at twice the risk of hypertension (high blood pressure) and those with troubled sleep habits are at triple the risk, found researchers at Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

“Our findings underscore the high incidence of inadequate sleep habits in adolescence along with the risk of developing high blood pressure among other health problems,” said Dr. Susan Redline, pediatrician and study author.

The findings also suggest low sleep efficiency (trouble falling asleep or waking too early) may be more consistently associated with pre-hypertension (borderline high blood pressure) than shorter periods of sleep.

High blood pressure affects over 50 million Americans. Patients who are diagnosed with high blood pressure are at an increased risk of developing kidney disease, blindness, heart attacks, strokes, and hardening of arteries.

Researchers studied 238 13-to-16-year-olds and found 14 percent of them had high blood pressure or pre-hypertension.

For adults, hypertension is defined as a reading of 140/90 or more, but for children it is defined as being in the 90th percentile for their age.

Participants kept sleep diaries and researchers measured their movements while in bed to determine if they were really asleep. They found that on average, they got about 7.7 hours of sleep a night, while they require nine hours at that age.

16 percent of the teens had low sleep efficiency. And another 11 percent slept less than 6 ½ hours per night.

Technological invasion is part of the problem – cell phones, music and computers have taken over most teen bedrooms, Redline said.

Many teens are up listening to music all night or sending text messages, compounded by early school hours. Researchers suggest parents optimize sleep quality with regular sleep and wake times and bedrooms should be kept dark, quiet and conducive to sleep.

Caffeine and warm temperatures are also known to keep people awake, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Kids and adults need to be allowed enough time to sleep. Eight to nine hours of sleep is recommended each night, but it takes an hour to settle down. It’s very hard to allow enough time to sleep, but necessary.

The study is published in the Aug. 19 issue of the journal Circulation.

Another recent study found, that cutting down on REM sleep (rapid eye movement) a deep restorative form of rest, is associated with being overweight among teens and children.

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