Those people who experience sleep problems persistently after a divorce are likely to suffer from an increased risk of potentially harmful high blood pressure, found a recent study. A growing body of research links divorce to significant negative health effects and sometimes, even death, though a few studies have looked at why this connection is likely to exist.
The researchers suggest that a possible reason for the increased risk for high blood pressure could partly be based on divorce-related sleep troubles. David Sbarra, associate professor of psychology at University of Arizona, US, said, “In the initial few months after a separation, sleep problems are probably pretty normal, and this is an adjustment process that people can typically cope with well”.
He added that sleep problems that persist for an extended period may imply something completely different. It may mean that people are becoming depressed so much that they are struggling with getting their life going again, and it is these people that are highly susceptible to health problems.
The study took a look at 138 people who had physically separated from their partner or got a divorce about 16 weeks before the beginning of the study. The participants were asked to report on their quality of sleep during the lab visits over seven-and-a-half-month period, using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, which considers sleep issues ranging from tossing and turning to snoring to difficulty falling or staying asleep.
The blood pressure of the participants was also measured at each of the three lab visits. Although, the researchers did not really observe a relationship between sleep complaints and level of blood pressure during the first lab visits, they did see a delayed effect with the participants showing an increased systolic as well as diastolic blood pressure in the later visits as a function of earlier sleep issues.
The study has been published in the journal Health Psychology.
Article source: Economic Times
Image courtesy: Getty
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