Sleep duration and risk for hypertension in women: Results from the nurses' health study

James E. Gangwisch, Diane Feskanich, Dolores Malaspina, Sa Shen, John P. Forman

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93 Scopus citations


Background Acute sleep restriction has been shown to increase blood pressure and sympathetic nervous system activity. Methods We investigated the relationships between sleep duration and hypertension among women whose sleep durations were self-reported in 1986 (n = 82,130) and 2000 (n = 71,658) in the Nurses' Health Study I (NHS-I) and in 2001 (n = 84,674) in the Nurses' Health Study II (NHS-II). Results After controlling for multiple risk factors in logistic regression models, the prevalence of hypertension was significantly higher among women in all 3 groups who slept ≤5 hours (odds ratio = 1.19, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.14-1.25) per night compared with 7 hours. In prospective analyses using Cox regression shorter sleep duration of ≤5 hours per night was significantly associated with a higher incidence of hypertension only in younger women (hazard ratio [HR] =1.20, 95% CI = 1.09-1.31 for those aged <50 years; HR = 1.11, 95% CI = 1.00-1.23 for those aged 50-59 years). In both prevalent and incident analyses, Results were consistent with obesity acting as a partial mediator. Results were not consistent with diabetes or hypercholesterolemia acting as mediators or with shift work, snoring, menopause, or postmenopausal hormone therapy acting as effect modifiers. Conclusions Sufficient sleep could represent a lifestyle practice worthy of investigation as an approach to reduce hypertension incidence and prevalence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)903-911
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Hypertension
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • blood pressure
  • circadian rhythm
  • epidemiology
  • hypertension
  • obesity
  • sleep


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