A desynchronized circadian rhythm, due to poor sleep or night work, can be the cause of high blood pressure, according to researchers.
- Almost all functions of the body depend on the 24-hour circadian rhythm, and the synchronization of this clock is mainly achieved by natural light. Disorders of this rhythm can have consequences on sleep, metabolism, the cardiovascular and immune systems, mood, memory, etc.
- The study found that having poor quality sleep (too short or too long) and working night shifts were associated with elevated blood pressure compared to those who had an undisrupted circadian rhythm.
- Workers, soldiers, care and security professions… In France, 4.3 million people work at night, that is to say between midnight and five a.m., according to the Labor Code.
Our circadian rhythm, this biological clock defined by the alternation between wakefulness and sleep over a 24-hour cycle, governs almost all functions of the human body, such as metabolism, cognition and even heart rate. Disruptions to these biological rhythms can therefore leave the body out of sync, with disastrous consequences for health.
For the first time, a study, published in the journal Nature Communicationsreveals in particular that an upset biological clock would be associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases.
Circadian rhythm out of sync, high blood pressure
It was by analyzing data from the UK Biobank cohort that researchers from the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institutein Australia, reached this conclusion. “We found that having poor quality sleep or working night shifts were associated with high blood pressure in both men and women, and across all age groups”explains Professor Morag Young, lead author of the research, in a communicated. “Having circadian rhythms out of sync, even slightly, has a negative impact on blood pressure”regardless of age, gender or body mass index.
The study reveals that permanent night workers who sleep less than six hours are most at risk of having hypertension, as are rotating workers who alternate night work and day work. But it also shows that staying too long in the arms of Morpheus has an equally disruptive effect on the body’s clock. “To maintain healthy blood pressure, the optimal amount of sleep for an adult is seven hours.”, estimate the researchers. Sleeping less or sleeping more puts yourself at risk of health problems.
Promote better sleep for less risk of hypertension
“This research shows that in addition to traditional lifestyle factors (diet, physical activity, alcohol…), shift work and poor sleep have a real negative impact on the maintenance of normal biological rhythms at the systemic and cellular, thereby compromising organ function.” And in particular causing blood pressure to jump, with a risk for cardiovascular health.
Promoting better sleep could be, according to researchers, “an additional way to reduce the chances of developing hypertension, especially among night and rotational workers.”