Lee Health Resident Physician Dr. Audrey Anne Wagner said her patients often talk about sleep during their appointments. “I can’t sleep; I feel like I don’t get enough sleep, or I feel like the quality of my sleep is not good enough to where I’m feeling poorly rested the next day. I can’t focus on my job I’m missing out on things that make my life worth living.”

We spend about a third of our lives sleeping, but not everyone gets the recommended 7 to 9 hours a night, and that can lead to other health problems. “Sleep is associated with lots of different chronic conditions, now it’s the discussion of is the poor sleep causing the chronic condition or is the chronic condition causing the poor sleep? Is it the chicken or the egg,” said Dr. Wagner.

The CDC said nearly half of adults in the US have hypertension or high blood pressure or are taking medication for hypertension. But sleep may be the medicine many of us need. “When we sleep and we sleep well at night our blood pressure naturally dips, and part of that natural blood pressure dip is restorative to our vessels and our heart and overall helps to reduce our likelihood of developing high blood pressure,” said Dr. Wagner.

The CDC said hypertension was a primary or contributing cause of more than half a million deaths in the US in 2019. “If we are poorly sleeping or if we’re not sleeping enough and we don’t allow our bodies to go through that natural blood pressure dip, we are at a higher risk for hypertension and if that goes untreated a higher risk of heart attack and stroke,” said Dr. Wagner.

You can find sleep resources or schedule an appointment with a sleep doctor on leehealth.org.

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Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health – Caring People. Inspiring Care.

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