Japanese researchers now believe your blood pressure readings while you sleep may be the best indicator you are prone to heart attacks and strokes, if you are at risk for them in the first place.
Doctors tracked readings from 6300 patients over 7 years. They found that 300 of those whose blood pressure spiked during sleep suffered strokes, heart attacks, and heart failure. Interestingly, doctors also found patients whose blood pressure dipped during sleep were more likely to have strokes.
Doctors call hypertension the “silent killer” for good reason. 100 million Americans have it. Defined by two numbers, systolic and diastolic, normal readings for adults should be 120/80. Anything else is unhealthy. Since high blood pressure often has no symptoms, many people (including African-Americans and diabetics) don’t know they have it until they suffer a heart attack or a stroke.
There are blood pressure devices you can wear to bed. Otherwise, your best bet is prevention. Cut your consumption of salt, caffeine, and alcohol. Exercise more, reduce stress, and keep your phone and laptop out of your bedroom, so you can sleep better. Doctors also urge patients to take their blood pressure medicines at night, and invest in a home monitor to track daily blood pressure readings.