International Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 314–320

Blood Pressure Increases During a Simulated Night Shift in Persons at Risk for Hypertension

  • James A. McCubbin
  • June J. Pilcher
  • D. DeWayne Moore

DOI: 10.1007/s12529-010-9117-6

Cite this article as:
McCubbin, J.A., Pilcher, J.J. & Moore, D.D. Int.J. Behav. Med. (2010) 17: 314. doi:10.1007/s12529-010-9117-6



Shift work with sleep disruption is a systemic stressor that may possibly be associated with blood pressure dysregulation and hypertension.


We hypothesize that rotation to a simulated night shift with sleep deprivation will produce blood pressure elevations in persons at risk for development of hypertension.


We examined the effects of a simulated night shift on resting blood pressure in 51 diurnal young adults without current hypertension. Resting blood pressure was monitored throughout a 24-h period of total sleep deprivation with sustained cognitive work. Twelve participants (23.5%) reported one or more parents with a diagnosis of hypertension. Ten participants were classified as prehypertensive by JNC-7 criteria. Only two prehypertensive subjects reported parental hypertension.


Results indicate that, as the night shift progressed, participants with a positive family history of hypertension showed significantly higher resting diastolic blood pressure than those with a negative family history of hypertension (p = 0.007). Prehypertensive participants showed elevated blood pressure throughout the study.


These data suggest that rotation to a simulated night shift with sleep deprivation may contribute to blood pressure dysregulation in persons with a positive family history of hypertension.


Cardiovascular disease Sympathetic nervous system Family history of hypertension Prehypertension Shift work Sleep deprivation 

Copyright information

© International Society of Behavioral Medicine 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • James A. McCubbin
    • 1
  • June J. Pilcher
    • 1
  • D. DeWayne Moore
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyClemson UniversityClemsonUSA

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