Two Simple Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure

If you're looking for ways to help lower your blood pressure, here are two very simple methods you can try.

Did you know that you can lower your blood pressure by getting a good night's sleep, or by meditating?

If you're like most of us, you already take medication for your hypertension, and that's a good thing. Pharmacology seems to work best for high blood pressure, so do keep taking your meds.

That said, it never hurts to help them along a little, especially when doing a few simple things can push your BP down a few points. So let's take a closer look at taking it easy.

Perchance to Dream

In a recent research study of 7,900 individuals at a hospital in Paris, French doctors found that poor sleepers had higher blood pressure than those who slept through the night uninterrupted. Bad dreams, tossing and turning, snoring, and waking up early all contributed to hypertension.

Another study at Columbia University here in the States echoed these findings. After following 4,800 people for 10 years, researchers found that one-quarter of the subjects who got fewer than five hours of sleep developed high blood pressure, as opposed to 12% of those who slept an average of 7-8 hours nightly.

Hitting the Hay

Now, most of us know that we need to sleep consistently and well in order to stay healthy, but this link between sleep and hypertension has been a shock to many.
So what to do?

First off, stop trying to do without sleep so you can stay up later and watch TV, hang out with friends, or whatever. Go to bed at a reasonable hour and get your eight hours in.

If your sleep is impaired due to long-term insomnia, you should go to your doctor for recommendations on how to fix it. Some safe options to counter the occasional sleepless night include herbal teas, over-the-counter remedies like melatonin and valerian, and dairy foods like milk and cheese (no ice cream!).

Ommmm...

As Sixties as it may sound, scientists have also discovered that Transcendental Meditation can decrease vasoconstriction (the tightening of blood vessels that contributes to hypertension) by up to 6.5%, which can translate to a decrease of several systolic blood pressure points.

This beats the heck out of plain relaxation, which decreases vasoconstriction by about 1.6%, according to the same study. Researchers have also noticed that long-term practitioners of TM have surprisingly low BPs to begin with.

You don't have to get into TM to get the benefits. Just sit in a quiet place for about 20 minutes per day, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. Don't try to clear your mind necessarily, but don't focus on your thoughts. After a while, you should be able to noticeably lower your blood pressure.

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