Kids with insufficient sleep could see spike in blood pressure, study finds

0
9

Join Fox News for access to this content

You have reached your maximum number of articles. Log in or create an account FREE of charge to continue reading.

By entering your email and pushing continue, you are agreeing to Fox News’ Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, which includes our Notice of Financial Incentive.

Please enter a valid email address.

Poor sleep habits have a ripple effect on many aspects of kids’ health — and a new study has revealed that blood pressure is one of them.

A report published in the journal Pediatrics this week said that going to sleep earlier and sleeping for longer durations is linked to lower blood pressure in children.

Researchers analyzed 539 patients averaging 14.6 years old, who slept for an average of 9.1 hours per night. 

MAJOR HEALTH ORGANIZATION MAKES STARTLING HEART DISEASE PREDICTION: ‘NEAR-PERFECT STORM’

Children who went to sleep later were found to have worse blood pressure parameters during the day — while those who slept for longer periods had reduced blood pressure.

The results were consistent regardless of age, gender, body mass index and the day of the week.

A report published in the journal Pediatrics this week revealed that going to sleep earlier and sleeping for longer durations is linked to lower blood pressure in children. (iStock)

“The key takeaway is that essential hypertension in children is, like in adults, contributed by lifestyle,” Dr. Amy Kogon, the study’s lead author and assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, told Fox News Digital.  

NEW BLOOD PRESSURE PROCEDURE IS ‘GAME-CHANGING’ FOR PEOPLE WITH UNCONTROLLED HYPERTENSION, SAY DOCTORS

“As physicians, we typically counsel patients to improve diet and physical activity to improve blood pressure, but this study suggests that sleep may be an additional facet to consider.”

 “This study suggests that sleep may be an additional [health] facet to consider.”

The researchers were surprised to find that longer sleep duration was associated with blunted “nocturnal dipping,” which is the expected drop in blood pressure that comes during sleep.  

“It is considered abnormal if a patient does not exhibit nocturnal dipping on their ambulatory blood pressure study,” Kogon said.

Girl blood pressure

Children who went to sleep later were found to have worse blood pressure parameters during the day, while those who slept for longer periods had reduced blood pressure, a new study found. (iStock)

“We expected that shorter sleep would be associated with blunted nocturnal dipping, and ultimately found that instead, longer sleep duration was associated with blunted nocturnal dipping.”

This was primarily seen in patients who reported excessive sleep duration, the researcher noted.

“It’s possible that those with excessive sleep duration are not sleeping well,” she said.

KIDS’ SLEEP PROBLEMS COULD BE INHERITED, NEW RESEARCH SUGGESTS

“For instance, if they had sleep apnea or even if they were in bed but on their phone or watching TV all night, that might explain the blunted nocturnal dipping.”  

The study did have some limitations, Kogon acknowledged.

Girl sleeping

Children between 6 and 12 years old should get 9-12 hours of sleep each night — while those between ages 13 and 18 need 8-10 hours, per the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. (iStock)

“It was a retrospective review of data — so these are associations,” she told Fox News Digital. 

“Also, we captured sleep duration by self-reporting for only [a] 24-hour period of data and assumed that it is representative of the patient’s sleep duration in general.”

The researchers also did not gather data on sleep quality or sleep disorders.

Factors impacting children’s blood pressure

High blood pressure affects about one in every seven people between 12 and 19 years of age, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As with adults, children with elevated blood pressure are at a higher risk of stroke and heart attack, experts say.

Sleep is just one of several risk factors that can impact this key health metric.

doctor checks patient's blood pressure

High blood pressure affects about one in every seven people between 12 and 19 years of age, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (iStock)

Other influencers include obesity, physical fitness, diet and environmental stress, according to the American Heart Association.

Children between 6 and 12 years old should get 9-12 hours of sleep each night, while those between 13 and 18 need 8-10 hours, per the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP                                                                         

Studies have shown that most youth are falling short, with 6 out of 10 U.S. middle schoolers and 7 out of 10 high-school students saying they don’t get enough sleep on school nights.

How kids can improve their sleep

Michael Gradisar, head of sleep science at Sleep Cycle and a clinical psychologist based in Adelaide, Australia, said the biggest obstacle to kids’ sleep might not be what people think.

“The scientific evidence doesn’t show that screens are the main obstacle to young people getting a good night’s sleep,” he told Fox News Digital.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR HEALTH NEWSLETTER

“The obstacle is actually their body clock. Because their body clock is timed late, they tend to fall asleep late and wake up late. Scientists have known this for decades.”

To improve sleep quality, Gradisar recommended using morning bright light therapy tailored to the person’s own body clock timing.

Boy insomnia

Six out of 10 U.S. middle schoolers and 7 out of 10 high-school students say they don’t get enough sleep on school nights. (iStock)

Morning bright light therapy uses bright light to help reset the circadian rhythm and normalize sleep patterns.

“That has shown the best results, according to the clinical trials that have been performed — including those we’ve run here in Australia,” he said.

For more Health articles, visit www.foxnews/health 

Looking ahead, the researchers plan to determine whether a sleep promotion intervention will improve blood pressure, Kogon said.

“We plan to explore this further by obtaining sleep quality data and obtaining more long-term sleep measures in patients being evaluated for high blood pressure,” she added.