Sleep Face Down for Lower Blood Pressure

Nighttime Blood Pressure Affected by Sleeping Position

Oct. 11, 2004 -- A change in sleeping position may lower your blood pressure.

That suggestion comes from a study presented this week at the American Heart Association's 58th Annual Fall Conference.

Researcher Yasuharu Tabara of Ehime University School of Medicine in Ehime, Japan, notes that high nighttime blood pressure is a bad sign for people with heart problems. He wondered whether sleeping posture might affect overnight blood pressure -- and a person's risk of a nighttime heart attack.

Tabara and colleagues signed up 271 healthy men not taking blood pressure medication. They ranged in age from 19 to 64, with an average age of 50. The researchers put automatic blood-pressure cuffs on the men and asked them to lie face up. Then they had them turn over and lie face down while they again measured the men's blood pressure.

The men's overall blood pressure went down slightly -- but significantly -- when the men rested face down. Twenty-five of the men had a dramatic decrease in blood pressure -- more than 15 points -- when they flipped from face up to face down.

"Marked change in blood pressure during sleep by turning the position [needs to be] further studied as a possible cause of cardiovascular events during the sleep," Tabara and colleagues conclude.

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SOURCES: American Heart Association 58th Annual Fall Conference, Chicago, Oct. 9-12, 2004. News release, American Heart Association.
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