Heidi Wright, BSN, RN, PCCN, and Certified Master Herbalist
Blood pressure, an important indicator of cardiovascular health, often isn't static throughout the day. Instead, it goes through variations influenced by many factors, including the time of day. As we start our mornings, whether our blood pressure should be higher or lower is a common point of curiosity.
Our body's internal clock plays a key role in these fluctuations — this internal rhythm is behind a range of physiological processes, from our sleep-wake cycle to hormone secretion.
Read on as we explore how and why blood pressure fluctuates, and what role your internal clock may be playing.
Blood pressure refers to the force exerted by circulating blood on the walls of our blood vessels. Measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg), it's presented as two numbers:
Maintaining blood pressure within an optimal range is essential for overall health. It ensures efficient nutrient and oxygen delivery to all parts of the body. Elevated blood pressure can strain the heart, potentially leading to complications like heart disease or stroke.
Various factors, from salt intake to stress levels, can influence blood pressure, making it important for individuals to be aware of these determinants.
Our body operates on an internal clock known as the circadian rhythm, which roughly follows a 24-hour cycle. This rhythm is ingrained in our biology, influencing metabolism, body temperature, hormone release, and sleep-wake cycle, determining when we feel alert or sleepy.
This internal clock also plays a role in blood pressure fluctuations. Typically, blood pressure dips during sleep and starts to rise before we wake up, with a noticeable surge in the morning. This rhythm, while natural, means that understanding the intricacies of our circadian clock is crucial for those aiming to maintain their blood pressure.
As dawn breaks and the world awakens, so does our body's physiological activity. A notable change observed during the early morning hours is a surge in blood pressure levels — but what prompts this?
One primary reason is the body's increased demand for oxygen as we transition from rest to activity. As we stir from sleep and commence our day, our heart rate accelerates, and our blood vessels constrict to meet the demands of our waking bodies.
The morning hours witness a spike in certain hormones, like cortisol, which naturally raise blood pressure. Numerous studies corroborate this pattern, noting a typical surge in blood pressure during the early parts of the day.
While the intrinsic circadian rhythm and physiological demands of waking are central to the morning blood pressure surge, other external factors can exacerbate or mitigate this natural rise. Recognizing these elements is essential for a more holistic understanding and effective management of morning blood pressure.
Some of these factors include:
Your diet and nutrition play a key role in your blood pressure, and your overall wellness. A breakfast high in salt, for example, can temporarily spike blood pressure.
Staying well-hydrated can also help in maintaining stable blood pressure. “Dehydration, on the other hand, sometimes leads to high blood pressure or may lead to drops in blood pressure that cause dizziness and fatigue,” notes Heidi Wright, Registered Nurse and Certified Herbalist.
It’s also important to consider your habits and overall routines. Alcohol consumption, for example, can contribute to blood pressure fluctuations. If you consume alcohol the night before, it might lead to elevated blood pressure the following morning.
Smoking, vaping, or consuming tobacco products in the morning can also instantly raise blood pressure.
Environmental factors like temperature and even air quality can also influence your blood pressure. Cold mornings can cause blood vessels to constrict, leading to higher blood pressure, and polluted air can lead to inflammation — which, in turn, can lead to an increase in blood pressure.
Waking up to stressful news or a challenging day ahead can contribute to a temporary rise in blood pressure by kickstarting your stress response. Positive emotions, on the contrary, might have a stabilizing effect.
While the morning surge in blood pressure is a natural physiological response, consistently high readings during this time can signal underlying health concerns.
These elevated levels, especially if sustained over a period, carry inherent risks:
While natural fluctuations in blood pressure are expected, consistent abnormalities or consistently high blood pressure is a sign that it’s time to consult your healthcare provider about next steps.
Maintaining healthy blood pressure is pivotal for overall health and well-being. Now that we've covered the dynamics of morning blood pressure and its implications, here are some actionable tips to support a healthy range:
Prioritize fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and omega-3 fatty acids. Processed foods, red meats, and excessive sugars are best when consumed minimally. It’s also beneficial to watch out for hidden sources of sodium in processed foods, canned goods, and restaurant meals, as sodium can contribute to high blood pressure and other health risks.
A simple 30-minute walk, jogging, or gardening can work to support healthy blood pressure. Physical activity can also help ease feelings of stress, build muscle, and support your sleep quality, meaning it works to promote your wellness in a wide range of ways.
Exercise can also help you maintain a healthy BMI and waist circumference, and maintaining a healthy weight is crucial in blood pressure maintenance.
Our Heart Functional Tea is a caffeine-free blend of carefully chosen natural ingredients like ginger root and hawthorn berry. It's an easy and delightful addition to your daily routine to support blood pressure health.
Supplements can also be a great way to complement a balanced diet and support your wellness. Turmeric's active component, curcumin, has health benefits ranging from tension relief to cardiovascular support, and our Heart Turmeric Complete Plus CoQ10 Capsules are specially crafted to support heart health.
“Remember to consult with a healthcare professional if you have a health condition or take medication before adding an herbal supplement to your daily wellness routine,” Wright adds.
Understanding the intricacies of blood pressure and its daily fluctuations can empower you to make informed decisions about your health. While natural variances throughout the day are expected, recognizing patterns is key for adjusting your lifestyle as needed.
At Herbaly, we’re committed to supporting you on this journey, offering knowledge and holistic solutions for optimal well-being. Together, let's embrace a healthier tomorrow.
To learn more about heart health and overall wellness, check out our other resources.
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