Hypertension is one of the most prominent causes of premature deaths globally. As per the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 1.28 billion adults aged 30-79 years from around the world suffer from hypertension. People suffering from this health condition generally experience symptoms like-
- Severe headaches
- Chest pain
- Blurred vision
- Breathing issues
- Abnormal heart rhythm
One significant consequence of hypertension is insomnia, the most common sleep disorder that leads to mental health conditions worldwide. Various studies also indicate that insomnia, in turn, can cause hypertension. Read ahead to discover more about the connection between these two health conditions and how to alleviate them naturally and holistically through Ayurveda:
How Does Hypertension Affect Sleep?
A 2022 study conducted in China showed that hypertension patients commonly complain of insomnia and that most adults suffering from high blood pressure exhibit an increased risk of experiencing insomnia and other sleep disorders.
High blood pressure can affect melatonin levels in the system, the hormone responsible for sleep. This disturbs the sleep cycles and causes various sleep disorders. Hypertension patients also suffer from psychological diseases like anxiety and depression, which are some of the major causative factors of insomnia.
As per a study, mental health issues like depression are associated with poor sleep quality. This is because there is a lot of functional connectivity among the brain regions that regulate sleep and those responsible for depressive symptoms.
High blood pressure puts more stress on the blood vessels and leads to symptoms like headaches, chest pains, and breathing issues, making sleeping difficult. Certain conventional medications for hypertension can interfere with the body’s natural sleep-inducing hormones and cause sleep disturbances, including insomnia and nightmares.
How Does Insomnia Affect Blood Pressure And Heart Health?
Insomnia can affect blood pressure in the following ways-
- Disturbed sleep leads to mental changes that manifest as anxiety, stress, and depression. As a result, the nervous system becomes overactive and causes the body to constrict/narrow down its blood vessels, thus, increasing blood pressure.
- Insomnia can directly affect the activity of the sympathetic nervous system and lead to various hypertensive symptoms in the body.
- Insomnia is shown to increase the levels of pulsatile cortisol in the system, also known as the stress hormone. It forces the cardiovascular system to pump blood harder and faster than usual, thus, increasing heart rate and blood pressure.
- Moreover, insomnia can also cause an imbalance in the brain’s stress response systems. It causes the brain to become more reactive and produce more steroid hormones like glucocorticoids that induce blood pressure.
As per a Harvard study, people with insomnia have a three times higher risk of hypertension than normal sleepers. When one sleeps, the body naturally lowers blood pressure and regulates the hormones controlling the heart’s health and function. But regularly getting too little sleep can cut short these bodily functions and affect how the heart pumps.
It can cause cardiovascular diseases, strokes, and even heart attacks. Over time, poor sleep can also lead to unhealthy dietary habits and lifestyle choices (like decreased motivation to be physically active) that can further hamper heart health.
With hypertension and insomnia being major public health issues and demonstrating a bidirectional relationship (each influencing the other), an in-depth study of their correlation has attracted global medical attention. Let us see how Ayurveda approaches these two conditions.
The Ayurvedic Approach to Alleviating Hypertension
As per Ayurveda, a modern sedentary lifestyle and improper dietary habits trigger and aggravate all three doshas in the body, thus, leading to the origin and development of hypertension.
Even in its mild and moderate stages, hypertension is a prominent risk factor for the genesis of other diseases that affect the heart, brain, eyes, kidneys, and other vital bodily organs. The pressure can cause the blood vessels to lose their elasticity and rupture, leading to minor leakages and hampering the blood flow to the body’s essential organs.
Medical practitioners prescribe consuming Sarpagandha (Rauvolfia Serpentina), one of the most potent Ayurvedic herbs, to help alleviate hypertension and improve overall heart health and function. Ayurvedic experts have used this herb for centuries to manage blood pressure and other cardiovascular issues.
What Makes Sarpagandha Effective?
Sarpagandha contains dozens of natural compounds called alkaloids. They affect the brain and the nervous systems to control the impulses along various neural pathways that lead to the heart. In turn, they act on the heart and the blood vessels to lower the overall blood pressure and facilitate a normal and healthy pace of blood circulation.
As per a study, Sarpagandha can effectively alleviate hypertension safely and holistically. When patients consume the herb, one of Sarpagandha’s major alkaloids- reserpine, quickly spreads throughout the vital body organs such as the brain, heart, liver, spleen, kidney, and tissues and binds to the protein receptors in the nerve cells. By doing so, it manages blood pressure, cardiovascular function and also brings balance to other organs in the system.
The herb helps improve blood sugar levels and reduce the amount of cholesterol and lipids (fats) in the blood to enhance cardiovascular function further. Thus, Sarpagandha significantly reduces the risk of conditions like sleep disorders, including insomnia, and mental health disorders like anxiety, stress, and depression.
A study showed that Sarpagandha helps improve sleep quality and duration and reduces daytime drowsiness by over 64% among people. Its alkaloids have a sedative and anti-depressant effect that help calm the brain and ease tension to facilitate better sleep. The herb also reduces the time taken to fall asleep and decreases the number of awakenings in sleep.
How to Benefit From Sarpagandha?
One of the most effective ways to leverage the therapeutic potential of this revered herb is to consume it in the form of Sarpagandha Ghan Vati tablets. This Ayurvedic formulation combines Sarpagandha with other powerful herbs like Vijaya and Jatamansi to help patients better manage hypertension and insomnia, relieve symptoms, and boost overall physical and mental well-being.
With the proper consultation from the best Ayurvedic doctors, you can learn more about the benefits and the correct usage of Sarpagandha Ghan Vati. Reach out to Hempstreet to discover more about the herb, its derived formulations, and their efficacy in alleviating different health conditions.