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Can Sleep Deprivation Cause High Blood Pressure?

In this blog, we explore the relationship between sleep and blood pressure, including how lack of sleep can contribute to high blood pressure and vice versa.

Can Sleep Deprivation Cause High Blood Pressure?


Lack of sleep can increase stress hormones and disrupt the body’s stress response.

High blood pressure can cause fatigue, headaches, and sleep disturbances.

Medications used to treat sleep disorders can influence blood pressure. 

Did you know?
Disruptions in sleep can lead to abnormalities in blood pressure patterns, potentially contributing to hypertension or worsening existing high blood pressure!

Sleep is essential for overall health and well-being, and its relationship with blood pressure is complex. Lack of sleep can affect blood pressure regulation, potentially leading to hypertension or exacerbating existing high blood pressure. On the other hand, high blood pressure can cause symptoms that disrupt sleep, creating a challenging cycle to break.

In this blog, we explore the connections between sleep and blood pressure, how they influence each other, and strategies for managing sleep and blood pressure for optimal health.

Let’s dive in!

Does A Lack Of Sleep Affect Blood Pressure?

Yes! Sleep deprivation can affect blood pressure. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases stress hormones like cortisol, which can increase your heart rate and constrict your blood vessels, leading to elevated blood pressure.

Also, sleep helps regulate the body’s stress response and supports overall cardiovascular health, so consistently not getting enough sleep can have a negative impact on blood pressure over time.

Let’s look at this more closely in the next section!

How Does Sleep Affect Blood Pressure?

Here are some ways in which sleep can affect blood pressure:

1. Blood Pressure Dips During Sleep: Normally, blood pressure dips during sleep, especially during the deeper stages of sleep, such as slow-wave sleep. This nighttime dip in blood pressure is known as nocturnal or nighttime blood pressure dipping. It’s a natural physiological process that helps the body rest and recover.

2. Sleep Quality and Duration: Both the quality and duration of sleep can influence blood pressure regulation. Long-term poor sleep quality or insufficient sleep duration can lead to disruptions in the body’s circadian rhythm, stress hormone regulation, and sympathetic nervous system activity, all of which can contribute to elevated blood pressure.

3. Sleep Disorders: Certain sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), can significantly impact blood pressure. OSA is characterized by repeated pauses in breathing during sleep, leading to oxygen desaturation and arousal from sleep. These breathing disturbances can trigger sympathetic nervous system activation, increase stress hormones, and contribute to hypertension and other cardiovascular problems over time.

4. Stress Response: Sleep deprivation or poor sleep quality can activate your body’s stress response, leading to increased production of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones can temporarily elevate blood pressure and heart rate, especially during the daytime.

5. Effect on Endothelial Function: Adequate sleep is essential for maintaining healthy endothelial function, which refers to the inner lining of blood vessels. Endothelial dysfunction is associated with impaired blood vessel dilation and constriction, which can contribute to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

6. Inflammation: Chronic sleep deprivation or poor sleep quality can lead to increased inflammation in the body, which is associated with various health problems, including hypertension. Inflammatory processes can affect blood vessel function and contribute to the development of high blood pressure.

Next, let’s consider whether or not sleep medications could cause hypertension as a side effect.

Does High Blood Pressure Cause Sleeplessness?

Can Sleeping Pills Cause High Blood Pressure?

Sleeping pills can potentially contribute to high blood pressure, although the relationship between them is complex and can vary depending on individual factors. Here’s how:

1. Side Effects: Many sleeping pills, particularly those in the class of medications known as sedative-hypnotics, can have side effects that affect blood pressure. For example, some sleeping pills may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting, which can temporarily affect blood pressure levels.

2. Respiratory Depression: Certain types of sleeping pills, such as benzodiazepines and some sedative-hypnotics, can suppress respiratory function, especially in higher doses or when combined with other central nervous system depressants like alcohol. This can lead to breathing difficulties during sleep, potentially worsening conditions like sleep apnea, which is associated with hypertension.

3. Interactions with Other Medications: Sleeping pills can interact with other medications, including those used to treat high blood pressure. These interactions can sometimes lead to adverse effects, including changes in blood pressure levels.

4. Stress Response: Some sleeping pills may affect the body’s stress response, including the release of hormones like cortisol, which can influence blood pressure regulation. For example, abrupt discontinuation of certain sleeping pills can lead to rebound insomnia and increased stress hormone release, potentially affecting blood pressure.

5. Underlying Health Conditions: People who require sleeping pills often have underlying health conditions that may also contribute to high blood pressure, such as anxiety, depression, or chronic pain. Addressing these underlying conditions with appropriate treatment may help manage blood pressure more effectively.

It's essential to use sleeping pills only as directed by a healthcare provider and to be aware of potential side effects and interactions with other medications you’re taking.

In the next section, we look at the natural pattern of blood pressure at night and what could cause it to act abnormally.

Does Blood Pressure Increase At Night?

For many people, blood pressure tends to decrease at night during sleep, reaching its lowest point in the early morning hours before rising again upon awakening. However, this pattern can vary depending on individual factors and underlying health conditions.

In some people, particularly those with certain health conditions such as hypertension or sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), blood pressure may not follow the typical nighttime dipping pattern. Instead, they may experience abnormal nighttime blood pressure patterns, such as nocturnal hypertension (elevated blood pressure during sleep) or non-dipping hypertension (lack of a significant decrease in blood pressure during sleep).

In light of this, next, let’s consider how hypertension could make it harder for you to fall asleep.

Does High Blood Pressure Cause Sleeplessness?

High blood pressure itself typically doesn’t directly cause sleeplessness, but it can contribute to various sleep disturbances, which can lead to difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep. Here’s how:

1. Stress and Anxiety: Living with high blood pressure can lead to increased stress and anxiety, especially if you’re worried about your health or the potential complications associated with hypertension. Stress and anxiety can make it difficult to relax and fall asleep.

2. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): OSA is a sleep disorder characterized by repeated pauses in breathing during sleep due to airway obstruction. Hypertension and OSA often coexist, and OSA is a significant risk factor for developing high blood pressure. The disruptions in breathing caused by OSA can lead to frequent awakenings throughout the night, resulting in poor sleep quality and sleep fragmentation

3. Medications: Some medications used to treat high blood pressure, such as beta-blockers or diuretics, can cause sleep disturbances as side effects. For example, beta-blockers may cause vivid dreams or nightmares, while diuretics can increase nighttime urination, disrupting sleep.

4. Pain and Discomfort: High blood pressure can contribute to cardiovascular problems or conditions such as headaches or chest pain, which may interfere with sleep. Discomfort or pain can make it challenging to find a comfortable sleeping position and may lead to frequent awakenings during the night.

5. Nocturia: High blood pressure can sometimes be associated with conditions like kidney disease, which can lead to nocturia, the need to urinate frequently during the night. Nocturia can disrupt sleep and make it difficult to achieve restful sleep.

6. Stress Hormone Levels: High blood pressure can affect the body’s production of stress hormones like cortisol, which play a role in regulating the sleep-wake cycle. Disruptions in cortisol levels can impact sleep patterns and contribute to sleeplessness.

7. Increased Risk of Insomnia: While high blood pressure itself doesn’t cause insomnia, sleepers with hypertension may be at a higher risk of developing insomnia due to factors such as stress, anxiety, or the presence of other sleep disorders like OSA.

Next, let’s look at whether or not high blood pressure could cause excessive daytime fatigue, especially by indirectly inducing sleep difficulties.

How To Sleep With High Blood Pressure

Can High Blood Pressure Make You Tired All The Time?

Yes! High blood pressure can cause fatigue and other symptoms, although it helps to know that high blood pressure itself often doesn’t present noticeable symptoms, earning it the nickname “the silent killer.” However, if blood pressure levels are extremely high or if it’s been uncontrolled for a long time, it can lead to various symptoms and complications. Some of these may include:

1. Fatigue: High blood pressure can lead to fatigue or a general feeling of tiredness, especially if it’s causing other symptoms like sleep disturbances or heart strain.

2. Headaches: Persistent headaches, particularly in the morning, can be a symptom of high blood pressure.

3. Dizziness or Lightheadedness: Feeling dizzy or lightheaded, especially when standing up quickly, can occur due to high blood pressure.

4. Shortness of Breath: High blood pressure can strain the heart, leading to shortness of breath, particularly during physical activity or exertion.

5. Chest Pain: Chest pain or discomfort may occur if high blood pressure has led to heart strain or if there are complications like heart disease or angina.

6. Vision Problems: High blood pressure can cause vision changes or problems, including blurred vision or vision loss in severe cases.

7. Nausea or Vomiting: Some people with extremely high blood pressure may experience nausea or vomiting, particularly when dehydrated.

8. Confusion or Cognitive Impairment: Very high blood pressure can affect brain function, leading to confusion, memory problems, or cognitive impairment.

If you experience any of these symptoms, especially if they’re severe or persistent, seek medical attention promptly. High blood pressure, if left untreated, can lead to serious complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, and more.

In the next section, we share some useful tips on how to sleep well if you have hypertension

How To Sleep With High Blood Pressure

Managing sleep with high blood pressure involves creating a conducive sleep environment and adopting healthy sleep habits. Here are some tips:

1. Establish a Consistent Sleep Schedule: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Consistency helps regulate your body’s internal clock, promoting better sleep.

2. Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine: Engage in calming activities before bed, such as reading, taking a warm bath, or practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation. Avoid stimulating activities like watching TV or using electronic devices with bright screens.

3. Maintain a Comfortable Sleep Environment: Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature. Use earplugs, an eye mask, or white noise machines if necessary to block out disturbances.

4. Invest in a Comfortable Mattress and Pillows: Choose a mattress and pillows that provide adequate support for your body and promote proper alignment. A body pillow like our Cuddler for instance, can help your spine stay naturally aligned as you rest. The Cuddler is approved by the American Chiropractic association because of its ergonomic design and soothing, satisfyingly squashy inner MelofoamTM.

5. Limit Stimulants and Heavy Meals Before Bed: Avoid consuming caffeine, nicotine, or heavy meals close to bedtime, as they can interfere with sleep. Instead, opt for light snacks if you're hungry.

6. Stay Active During the Day: Engage in regular physical activity during the day, but avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime, as it can be stimulating. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.

7. Manage Stress: Practice stress-reduction techniques such as mindfulness, yoga, or progressive muscle relaxation to help calm your mind and body before bed.

8. Limit Alcohol Consumption: While alcohol may initially make you feel drowsy, it can disrupt sleep patterns and worsen sleep apnea, which is common in people with high blood pressure. Limit alcohol intake, especially in the hours leading up to bedtime.

If you’re struggling with sleep despite making these changes, or if you have concerns about your blood pressure and sleep quality, consult your healthcare provider. In the next section, we detail other sleep-related red flags to stay on the lookout for.


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When to See a Doctor

Here are some signs that indicate it’s time to speak to a medical professional:

1. Persistent Sleep Problems: If you’re consistently having difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up feeling unrested despite making efforts to improve your sleep hygiene, seek medical advice. This is especially important if your sleep disturbances are affecting your daily functioning and quality of life.

2. Noticeable Changes in Blood Pressure: If you’ve been monitoring your blood pressure at home and notice significant fluctuations or consistently high readings, particularly during the night, discuss these findings with your doctor.

3. Symptoms of Sleep Disorders: If you’re experiencing symptoms suggestive of a sleep disorder, such as loud snoring, gasping or choking during sleep, pauses in breathing, or restless legs, seek evaluation from a healthcare professional who specializes in sleep medicine. These symptoms may indicate conditions like obstructive sleep apnea, which can have significant implications for both sleep and blood pressure.

4. Persistent Fatigue or Daytime Sleepiness: If you’re consistently feeling fatigued, lethargic, or excessively sleepy during the day, despite spending adequate time in bed, it could be a sign of an underlying sleep disorder or uncontrolled blood pressure.

5. Other Symptoms of High Blood Pressure: If you’re experiencing symptoms suggestive of high blood pressure, such as headaches, dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath, or vision changes, seek medical attention promptly.

6. Concerns About Medications: If you’re taking medications for high blood pressure or sleep disturbances and have concerns about their effectiveness, side effects, or interactions, discuss these concerns with your doctor.


The relationship between sleep and blood pressure is intricate, with each influencing the other in significant ways. By prioritizing good sleep hygiene, addressing underlying health conditions, and seeking medical guidance when necessary, you can promote better sleep quality and maintain healthy blood pressure levels.