Taking your blood pressure pills at bedtime instead of in the morning might be healthier for some high-risk people, a recent study confirms.
The results of 21 randomised controlled trials involving 1,993 patients with primary hypertension were analysed; they found that those on evening dosing enjoyed slightly better overall blood pressure control than those on morning dosing, with those patients taking alpha-blockers and diuretics enjoying around 5mmHg fall in systolic blood pressure.
Most people take their blood pressure medication in the morning, which is when blood pressure naturally surges as the body gets a ‘wake-up’ kick of stress hormones. But lead author, Ping Zhao, suggests that because medication can often take a few hours for the full effects to take hold, bedtime dosing is best to ensure the drug is working effectively when the morning surge in blood pressure comes.
Their findings back up a 2007 Italian study which found that night-time dosing was particularly helpful for people whose blood pressure didn’t naturally fall 10-20% overnight, as it does in healthy people. They found that a nighttime dose of blood pressure medication could help ‘reset’ the natural overnight lowering process and suggested that this natural lowering of blood pressure might give the arteries and kidneys a well deserved rest, leading to better heart and kidney health.
Unfortunately, many doctors either don’t know or don’t think about the timing benefits, and just prescribe a ‘daily’ dose, which most people take in the morning to ‘get it out of the way’.
At Hypnotension, we teach people to take responsibility for managing their blood pressure, and there are often simple changes which can make a big difference. After all, a study published in the scientific journal Hypertension in 2003 estimated a reduction of just 2.5/1.4 mmHg would be enough to reduce strokes by 13% and ischaemic heart disease by 10%!
So why not talk to your doctor about this and see if altering the timing of pills could be beneficial in your particular case?