Orange Park Medical Center - January 16, 2018

If you're debating whether to go to bed early or tackle your to-do list, go for the pillow time.

Here's why: Lack of sleep makes your heart work harder. Here's how: When you sleep, your body goes into a lower blood pressure mode. But too little time in this low-key state can eventually lead to high blood pressure. So set the list aside and give your heart a little holiday instead – it could be the best natural hypertension treatment for your body.

If lack of sleep is due to crazy-long to-do lists, tight deadlines or fretful toddlers, you're like most people over 30 who are getting historically low levels of sleep. Hypertension is on the rise in this age group, too, and researchers believe these two trends are related. One study of people aged 32 to 59 found that those who got fewer than five hours of sleep a night for several years were twice as likely to develop hypertension as people who got a healthy seven or eight hours each night. So, if you’re looking for natural hypertension treatment methods, a good night’s sleep is a great place to start.

Cutting back on a full night's sleep again and again comes back at you in several ways:

  • It deprives you of the time when your blood pressure is lower.
  • It means you spend more time dealing with stress instead of resting.
  • And salt retention, a well-known contributor to high blood pressure, may increase with sleep deprivation.

If getting enough shut-eye is a challenge, think about this: Whatever's tempting you to stay up late will still be there tomorrow. By replacing lack of sleep with plenty of rest, you'll do those tasks better -- and probably faster.