Variability in Sleep Patterns: an Emerging Risk Factor for Hypertension

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number19
JournalCurrent hypertension reports
Issue number2
StatusPublished - Feb 1 2020


Purpose of Review: In this review, we summarize recent epidemiological data (2014–2019) that examine the association of sleep variability with blood pressure (BP), discuss potential underlying mechanisms, and highlight future research directions. Recent Findings: Higher standard deviations of sleep duration and sleep-onset timing were not related to BP. However, a higher Sleep Regularity Index score was associated with lower odds of hypertension. Studies on social jetlag, a prevalent form of sleep variability, reported null associations. In contrast, lower interdaily stability in circadian rest-activity rhythms, a measure of invariability in sleep-wake cycles between days and synchronization to light and dark cycles, was associated with higher BP and greater hypertension odds, particularly among non-shift workers. Summary: Sleep variability is consistently associated with risk factors for hypertension. Evidence on sleep variability and BP is limited and varies depending on the measure used to characterize day-to-day variability in sleep. Studies that identify and utilize a standard definition of sleep variability, incorporate a 24-h ambulatory BP monitoring, and ensure coinciding timing of sleep and BP measurements are necessary to disentangle these relationships.

    Research areas

  • Blood pressure, Hypertension, Interdaily stability, Sleep variability, Social jetlag