Do you get enough sleep? Study after study is showing how important sleep is to our bodies and our mind. Researchers at the University of Chicago just completed a study that suggests getting less sleep leads to higher blood pressure. A five year study of adults aged 33-45 showed that participants who had less sleep and lower quality sleep were significantly more likely to have higher systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings. The results showed that on average, participants slept for about 6 hours a night. Less and lower quality sleep was also significantly more likely to be linked to adverse changes in systolic and diastolic blood pressure over a 5 year period. After 5 years, each hour less of sleep was linked to a 37 percent higher chance of developing high blood pressure. They hope that the discovery of this new risk factor will help prevent more people developing high blood pressure and suggest more research is done to see if improving sleep patterns reduces the risk. Speculating on what the underlying mechanism might be, they suggested that insufficient sleep affects the way the body responds to stress and this might lead to raised blood pressure. So, it is important to get as much quality sleep as possible to maintain good health and to handle stress.