Teens’ Poor Sleep Habits May Lead to Elevated Blood Pressure

Research recently published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association indicates that teenagers who have a low sleep efficiency or don’t get enough sleep may have a higher risk of elevated blood pressure, which could lead to cardiovascular disease later in life. Sleep efficiency refers to the ratio of time asleep divided by the time allotted for sleep. Teens with a low sleep efficiency have trouble falling asleep at night and/or wake up too early in the morning.

More and more children and young adults are being diagnosed with hypertension due to sedentary lifestyles that often include long hours of playing video games, watching tv, or surfing the Internet (sometimes late into the night, affecting sleep patterns). Hypertension in children and adolescents is currently treated with a regimen of diet and exercise. The researchers who conducted this study hope future studies will help indicate whether a program involving sleep optimization in addition to weight management and exercise will aid in the prevention of hypertension.

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