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My Sleep & Blood Pressure Experiment

sleep can strengthen your heart
You may not realize how much your blood pressure is affected by your late nights and early hours. I decided to try an experiment to see just how much a difference burning the candle at both ends makes. You may be astonished!

Planned Insomnia

On Monday night, I stayed up all night. It wasn't hard. I had plans to make, tv shows to watch, and the never-ending list of e-mails to sort thru and try to delete. 
I'm sure you're familiar with all the things that can keep you up if you feel like it. Even if you aren't in the mood for staying up, sometimes you just have tons of things on your mind that keep you awake - that good old insomnia!

Sleep or shutdownWell, here's a good reason to get all that out of your system during regular waking hours. 
By the time I went to bed at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning, I had been up 26 hours. 
Monday morning, I had gotten out of bed at 8 a.m. Actually when I went to sleep on Tuesday, I felt like I could stay up a bit longer, but my brain was getting a bit foggy when I tried to remember something from a few minutes prior.

So, after a 3 hour nap, I was good to go. Got a few things done, went to the store (it was just a couple miles away, & I didn't feel tired.) Fixed a very "un-watch-your- blood pressure-like dinner of Hebrew National hotdogs (they don't give my son headaches), baked beans & macaroni. 
Like I said – not a very healthy dinner, but if it's only every once in a while once your blood pressure is under control, AND you know what to do to counter the aftereffects, it's ok. Just don't make a habit of it! : )

Consequences of My Sleep Deprivation

In the evening, I tried to watch tv. Notice the word, "tried." While watching a Dr. Phil show, I fell asleep 3 times! Frustrating! 
And sorry, Dr. Phil - not saying you're boring! Nothing like rewinding the same thing over and over!  Woke up for a while and got a couple more shows off the dvr (what a goal--to make room on the dvr!). 
Knowing I didn't want to get TOO much sleep because of the experiment, I went to sleep on purpose at 2 a.m.

sleep cycle
My body kept waking up, which is unusual for me, but great for the experiment. I had planned on getting 7 hours of sleep. 
So after the first 4 hours, I took my blood pressure, and it was high: 145/95. Normally, seeing that would make me VERY nervous, but I had a plan.

After going back to sleep for another hour, my blood pressure was 126/82. Two more hours of sleep later for a total of 7 hours, bp was up again to 132/89.

Time for My Blood Pressure Remedy

Final count – two hours after the 7 hours of sleep and a bowl of oatmeal, my blood pressure was back down to normal at 111/79. My diastolic number has been lower, but this is satisfactory.

Moral of the story: Be aware of how much sleep you are getting, and how much sodium you are getting each day. Granted, my meal the evening prior to getting the sleep I'm sure had an effect on the situation, but isn't that sometimes the scenario with you?

My Challenge to You

sleep reduces stress
Here's a challenge for you: Keep track of how much sleep you are getting. If you have a blood pressure monitor at home, keep a log of your blood pressure along with your hours of sleep.

I just bought a spiral bound 3 x 5 index card set to keep by my bedside along with a pen. It makes it easier to remember to jot down what time you're turning in. Before you go to turn out the light for sleep, just jot down what time it is. Then write what time you wake up. It should be interesting to see any correlation between sleep and blood pressure!

Actually seeing the consequences of really late nights may give you the push you need to make it a habit to turn out the lights a bit earlier.

For some natural sleep remedies, go here.

How to Avoid "White Coat Syndrome"

If you don't already have a blood pressure monitor and would like that peace of mind, click here for an easy way to get great choices and prices.
Many doctors now recommend having your own monitor at home so you can take the monitor to show your progress to the doctor and avoid "white coat syndrome" of higher numbers at the doctor's office.