HealthDay News — Patients with chronic insomnia who regularly take longer than 14 minutes to fall asleep appear to be at significantly increased risk for hypertension, according to research published in Hypertension.

“Previous studies have suggested that insomnia with objective short sleep duration is associated with a higher risk of hypertension, and it has been speculated that the underlying mechanism is physiological hyperarousal,” noted Yun Li, of Sichuan University in Chengdu, China, and colleagues.

To test whether insomnia with physiological hyperarousal is associated with increased risk of hypertension, the investigators followed patients with chronic insomnia with physiological hyperarousal (n=219), measured by Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT), and patients with normal sleep behaviors (n=96), aged 40 years on average.

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Patients with chronic insomnia who took longer than 14 minutes to fall asleep had a 300% higher risk of hypertension. The longer they took to fall asleep, the greater their risk.

“Insomnia associated with physiological hyper-arousal is associated with a significant risk of hypertension,” concluded the researchers.

“MSLT values may be a reliable index of the physiological hyperarousal and biological severity of chronic insomnia.”


  1. Li Y et al. Hypertension. 2015; doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.114.04604