Several large studies have shown that both short and long average sleep durations increase the risk of hypertension in adults. We investigated whether sleep duration is also associated with hypertension in the elderly. This cross-sectional study was conducted in 5058 participants of the population-based Rotterdam Study, aged 58 to 98 years. Blood pressure was measured at the research center. Hypertension was defined as a systolic blood pressure of ≥160 mm Hg and/or a diastolic blood pressure of ≥100 mm Hg or current use of antihypertensive medication. In all of the participants, sleep duration was assessed by self-report. In a subsample of 975 subjects, it was additionally measured with actigraphy, a validated method that infers wakefulness and sleep from the presence or absence of limb movement. After adjustment for age and gender and additionally for body mass index, smoking, depressive symptoms, sleep medication use, diabetes mellitus, myocardial infarction, and stroke, none of the odds ratios (varying from 0.54; 95% CI: 0.27 to 1.08; to 1.19; 95% CI: 0.89 to 1.58) reflected a significant association between sleep duration and hypertension, whether measured by self-report or actigraphy. This study strongly suggests that sleep duration is not associated with hypertension in the elderly.

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Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van den Berg, J., Tulen, J., Neven, A., Hofman, A., Miedema, H., Witteman, J., & Tiemeier, H. (2007). Sleep duration and hypertension are not associated in the elderly. Hypertension, 50(3), 585–589. doi:10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.107.092585