HealthDay News — Poor sleep duration doubles the risk for resistant hypertension, and the association may be mediated by depressive symptoms, preliminary study results reported at the American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure Research Scientific Sessions in Washington, D.C., suggest.

Rosa Maria Bruno, a PhD student at the University of Pisa and research fellow at the Institute of Clinical Physiology in Pisa, Italy and colleagues analyzed sleep patterns in 234 patients with a mean age of 58 years, who  had hypertension or resistant hypertension.

Resistant hypertension is defined as BP >140/90 mm Hg in patients taking three or more antihypertensive drugs, or controlled BP with four or more drugs. The researchers used the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) to assess sleep quality and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) to detect depression symptoms.

Continue Reading

Although short sleep was prevalent among all study participants — average sleep duration was 6.4 hours and 49% of patients reported sleeping fewer than six hours per night — women were more likely than men to report poor sleep quality and depressive symptoms. Both PSQI and BDI scores were significantly higher among women than men, and women with resistant hypertension had significantly elevated scores on both scales, whereas men did not.

Poor sleep quality correlated independently with resistant hypertension (odds ratio=2.2) after adjusting for multiple potentially confounding variables, but the association lost significance after adjustment for depressive symptoms, the researchers found.

The study did not assess the mechanisms underlying poor sleep and resistant hypertension. and do not establish a cause and effect relationship between the two disorders, the researchers noted.

They added that poor sleep is often associated with conditions such as obesity and diabetes, which can interfere with the efficacy of BP-lowering drugs, and called for additional research to clarify the relationship between poor sleep and resistant hypertension.


  1. Bruno RM, Gadhe B. Abstract #63. “Relation of poor sleep quality to resistant hypertension.” Presented at: the American Heart Association High Blood Pressure Research Meeting. Sept. 21, 2012; Washington, D.C.