The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has conducted the first study to look at the relationship between poor sleep habits and blood pressure in healthy adolescents.

Results found that among healthy teens (13-16 years old), those who sleep less than 6.5 hours per night were 2.5 times more likely to have elevated blood pressure, as compared to those who slept longer.

Additionally, healthy teens with low sleep efficiency were found to have an average of 4 mm Hg higher systolic blood pressure (top number) and were 3.5 times more likely to have prehypertension or hypertension when compared to peers.

The study included a cross-sectional analysis of 238 adolescents enrolled in the Cleveland Children’s Sleep and Health Study. No participants had sleep-disordered breathing or other known health conditions. Sleep efficiency and duration were evaluated at home for 3 to 7 nights, in addition to participating in one overnight sleep study. During the overnight sleep study, blood pressure was also measured nine times.

Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association published the study.