Effects of sleep deprivation on neural circulatory control

Masahiko Kato, Bradley G. Phillips, Gardar Sigurdsson, Krzysztof Narkiewicz, Catherine A. Pesek, Virend K. Somers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

273 Scopus citations


Effects of sleep deprivation on neural cardiovascular control may have important clinical implications. We tested the hypothesis that sleep deprivation increases heart rate, blood pressure, and sympathetic activity and potentiates their responses to stressful stimuli. We studied 8 healthy subjects (aged 40±5 years, 6 men and 2 women). Blood pressure, heart rate, forearm vascular resistance, and muscle sympathetic nerve activity were measured at rest and during 4 stressors (sustained handgrip, maximal forearm ischemia, mental stress, and cold pressor test). Measurements were obtained twice, once after normal sleep and once after a night of sleep deprivation. All measurements were obtained in a blinded, randomized manner. In comparison with normal sleep, sleep deprivation resulted in an increase in blood pressure (normal sleep versus sleep deprivation=82±8 versus 86±7 mm Hg, mean±SEM, P=0.012) and a decrease in muscle sympathetic nerve activity (normal sleep versus sleep deprivation=28±6 versus 22±6 bursts/min, P=0.017). Heart rate, forearm vascular resistance, and plasma catecholamines were not significantly changed by sleep deprivation, nor did sleep deprivation affect autonomic and hemodynamic responses to stressful stimuli. Sleep deprivation results in increased resting blood pressure, decreased muscle sympathetic nerve activity, and no change in heart rate. Thus, the pressor response to sleep deprivation is not mediated by muscle sympathetic vasoconstriction or tachycardia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1173-1175
Number of pages3
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2000


  • Catecholamines
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Sympathetic nervous system
  • Vascular resistance


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