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Ask Tufts Experts August 2011 Issue

Q: Can a person’s dreams raise his blood pressure? My blood pressure is generally quite a bit higher in the morning than when I go to bed. Could I blame bad dreams?

Answer :††Itís probably not your dreams, but you may want to check with your doctor about an underlying physical cause of this pattern, such as uncontrolled hypertension, sleep apnea, adrenal-gland issues or kidney problems. The normal daily pattern of blood pressure is that itís lower at night and when you first wake up, then rises during the day. Blood pressure typically peaks in mid-afternoon, then begins to drop again. Studies have found that blood pressure during sleep can be 20% lower than during the day, with the lowest point reached about two hours after going to bed. A 24-hour blood-pressuring monitoring test can confirm whether you indeed have an abnormal blood-pressure pattern, which could be cause for treatment.

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