Lack of Slow Wave Sleep Ups Hypertension Risk in Older Men

Hypertension independently, inversely associated with percentage of time in slow wave sleep

TUESDAY, Aug. 30 (HealthDay News) -- The percentage of slow wave sleep (SWS) is significantly associated with incident hypertension in men aged 65 years and older, even after adjusting for confounding variables, according to a study published online Aug. 29 in Hypertension.

Maple M. Fung, M.D., from the San Diego Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, and colleagues investigated whether incident hypertension is associated with certain sleep indices, including sleep disordered breathing, decreased sleep duration, and sleep architecture in 784 men aged 65 years or older. None of the participants had hypertension at the time of their in-home polysomnography sleep studies (2003 to 2005), and all returned for follow-up (2007 to 2009).

The investigators found that 243 of the 784 participants met criteria of incident hypertension after a mean follow-up of 3.4 years. Incident hypertension was correlated with increased hypoxemia, increased sleep stages N1 and N2, and decreased stage N3 SWS after unadjusted analyses. The only sleep index that was still significantly associated with incident hypertension after adjusting for age, nonwhite race, study site, and body mass index was SWS percentage (odds ratio for lowest to highest quartile of SWS, 1.83). The association was not reduced after accounting for sleep duration, sleep fragmentation, and indices of sleep-disordered breathing. Incident hypertension, independent of sleep duration and fragmentation, and sleep-disordered breathing were inversely associated with percentage time in SWS.

"Selective deprivation of SWS may contribute to adverse blood pressure in older men," the authors write.

One of the study authors disclosed financial ties with the pharmaceutical industry.

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