Sympathetic Nervous System, Sleep, and Hypertension

Gino Seravalle, Giuseppe Mancia, Guido Grassi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: To evaluate the relation between sleep alterations, with or without breathing disorders, and incidence of hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases Recent Findings: Several studies have clearly shown the mechanisms linking sleep disorders and cardiovascular diseases. The sympathetic hyperactivity seems to play a fundamental role in favoring and sustaining the increase in blood pressure values. Several other mechanisms also contribute to this effect and to the increase cardiovascular risk. Summary: The mechanisms responsible for the increase in blood pressure values in subjects with alteration in sleep quantity and quality, with or without breathing disorders, have been clearly established. The recent findings refer to the result of meta-analysis of cross-sectional studies or longitudinal studies showing a significant association between short sleep duration and hypertension. It has also been shown that sleep fragmentation could be considered the main determinant of the sympathetic activation independently of the frequency and severity of oxygen desaturation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number74
JournalCurrent Hypertension Reports
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2018


  • Autonomic control
  • Cardiovascular risk
  • Hypertension
  • Sleep apnea
  • Sleep disorders
  • Sympathetic nervous system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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