Best Sleeping Positions for People with High Blood Pressure
If you are one of the 75 million Americans with high blood pressure, you have probably already made efforts to lower your numbers with lifestyle changes. But what you may not know is that changing the way you sleep may help bring down those numbers, too. Not only does the length and quality of your sleep make an impact on your blood pressure, but the position you sleep in can make a big difference, too. Find out how changing your sleeping habits and position can help you lower your blood pressure and improve your overall health.
What is the connection between sleep and high blood pressure?
Sleep is the body’s natural way to process (and eliminate) stress hormones known to raise blood pressure. Without enough restful sleep, the hormone levels remain high which leads to inflammation. This, in turn, can cause your blood vessels to narrow and lead to high blood pressure. Most adults require 7 to 8 hours of restful sleep each night. If you are in the habit of skimping on sleep just to get through the week, it may be impacting your blood pressure. Make room for sleep in your daily schedule and avoid the temptation to think you can catch up later when life is less hectic. Making sleep a priority will reduce stress, improve your health and make you better able to tackle daily tasks.
What are the best sleeping positions for high blood pressure?
Not everyone agrees on the best sleeping positions for high blood pressure, but sleep specialist, and medical director of the Martha Jefferson Hospital Sleep Medicine Center, W. Christopher Winter, says that sleeping on the left side is the best sleeping position for high blood pressure because it relieves pressure on blood vessels that return blood to the heart. These vessels are located on the right side of the body and may become compressed slowing your circulation if you sleep on your right side. Sleeping on your left side is important for pregnant women concerned with high blood pressure. Because the growing baby presses against internal organs and may cause circulation issues, sleeping on the left side will help with circulation and may prevent high blood pressure.
According to research conducted by Yasuharu Tabara and his colleagues from the Ehime University School of Medicine in Ehime, Japan, sleeping face down may be the key to lowering blood pressure while you sleep. Results of their study indicated that blood pressure may drop more than 15 points when you change from sleeping face up to face down.
If you have difficulty sleeping face down or on your left side due to pain or other health conditions, talk to your doctor about your options. He can advise you whether sleeping in another position and getting a good night’s sleep outweighs the risks of restless sleep while trying to sleep in the best sleeping positions for high blood pressure.