Can High Blood Pressure Cause You to Feel Sleepy or Tired?

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Question

Asked by Nat

I'm on medication for my blood pressure now and have been for about six or seven years. For about two years I've been getting very tired all of a sudden. It's a strange feeling, almost like a fever comes over me and I get very sleepy and feel like I need to lie down. (But I do not want to!) I have talked to my neurologist, my hemotologist, and my gynecologist about this, as well as my family doctor. I have had a stress test and an MRI and everything was normal.

They all seem to think it is depression, but I don't! I wonder if it is a rise in my blood pressure or maybe the start of menopause? Please help.

Answer

High blood pressure has been labeled a “silent killer” because, more often than not, there are no physical symptoms associated with it. As with most things, there are always exceptions and some people do experience physical symptoms with blood pressure changes. Some of the top physical symptoms associated with high blood pressure include headaches, dizziness, nausea, drowsiness, and loss of vision. So, there may be some relation to your blood pressure changes and sudden sleepiness.

Blood pressure medication side effects

It’s important to keep in mind that all medications have side effects and that includes your blood pressure medications. Most of these side effects go away with time as your body adjusts to the new medication. The most common side effects are:

  • Cough
  • Diarrhea/constipation
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Erection problems
  • Feeling nervous
  • Feeling tired, weak, drowsy, or a lack of energy
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Skin rash
  • Weight loss or gain without trying

Also, taking more than one medication or supplement at a time can lead to potential interactions, be sure to clear all additional medications with your doctor before beginning them.

Sleep deprivation and blood pressure

There has been some link between getting less than six hours of sleep per night and increased blood pressure. It is generally thought that adequate sleep allows for the body to better regulate stress hormones and the nervous system. Scientists believe that without providing your body with the rest it needs, we are less able to regulate our stress and therefore increase our likelihood of high blood pressure. Aiming for a regular seven to eight hours of restful sleep each night may be both a prevention and treatment method for high blood pressure.

Answered by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN