Insomnia refers to an inability to sleep the desired amount despite adequate allotted time in bed. People with insomnia often misperceive their sleep duration. Research studies have linked chronic insomnia with increased risk of high blood pressure (HTN). Sleeping less than 6 hours is considered being a "short sleeper" and is also associated with HTN.
This study looked at the association between short sleepers with insomnia and HTN. Participants underwent two consecutive in-lab sleep studies to objectively monitor sleep duration. They also had the participants record their subjective sleep duration with a sleep diary. Results showed that insomnia with objectively-measured sleep duration less than 6 hours was associated with increased risk (Odds Ratio 3.59) for HTN. This finding was independent of the following confounders: age, gender, race, body-mass index, frequency of sleep aid use, sleep apnea severity, daytime sleepiness, diabetes, high cholesterol, depression, alcohol use, tobacco use, or caffeine consumption.
The authors concluded that the results provide further support for measuring sleep duration objectively, rather than subjectively for those patients with chronic insomnia. This means the authors are advocating for sleep studies in the evaluation of chronic insomnia to help determine morbidity risks associated with the insomnia.