Hypertension and Poor Dietary Habits worsens Insomnia

Healthy diet and physical exercise are effective at improving high blood pressure or hypertension, but improving sleep quality can be equally effective in those suffering insomnia, according to a report recently published in Nihon Rinsho.

N. Uchimura at Department of Neuropsychiatry, Kurume University School of Medicine studied 5,747 workers at a mean age of 43.8 years to see whether there is an association between insomnia and hypertension.

Uchimura found workers with hypertension or commonly known as high blood pressure were more likely to suffer from insomnia than those without hypertension.  Also those with insomnia were more likely to have hypertension than those without insomnia, suggesting that insomnia is closely associated with hypertension.

Additionally, the researcher found many workers with insomnia did not seek help from a physician, nor did they talk to a physician about their sleeping condition.  Many cases of insomnia remained untreated or patients only used nightcaps and or over the counter medications which they believed would help them.  Thus these insomnia patients did not receive appropriate treatment with hypnotics or psychoactives which is primarily used to induce sleep.

The researcher concluded “Diet and exercise therapies are important in the treatment of hypertension, but it is suggested that sleep therapy facilitating sufficient sleep is equally effective, and hypertension can be treated directly and indirectly through such therapy.”

So what does a person with insomnia need to do to overcome his sleeping problem?

Insomnia has something to do with a person’s dietary habit, which means when to eat and what to eat can influence the condition of a person’s sleep.

S.S. Zadeh and K. Begum at Department of Studies in Food Science and Nutrition, Manasagangothri, University of Mysore in Mysore, India reported in Nutrition Research and Practice that insomnia was associated with low intakes of some nutrients.

For the study, 87 men and women aged 21 to 45 years were assessed for insomnia using the Insomnia Screening Questionnaire and dietary intakes were estimated based on data from a dietary survey over a period of three days.

Subjects suffering insomnia were found to have lower intakes of energy, protein, carbohydrate, thiamine, folic acid, vitamin B12 and iron, compared with normal sleepers.  This means that increasing the intakes of these nutrients may improve the sleep quality in people with insomnia.

In addition, those who want to have a good night sleep needs to avoid certain foods before going to sleep. The authors cited a study as finding that “consumption of tea, coffee, or alcohol as well as dining just before bedtime is reported to have negative effect on sleep.”

Source: Food Consumer

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