Sleeping poorly after divorce can lead to an increase in blood pressure, a new study suggests.
Researchers from the University of Arizona said problems associated with sleeping could explain the wealth of data that shows people’s health suffers after a divorce.
The study examined 138 people who had recently gotten divorced or separated from their partners.
The subjects were asked to report on their sleeping patterns over a number of weeks and their blood pressure was taken at each visit to the lab.
In the first reports, there was no discernible relationship between how they slept and their blood pressure. However, in later visits, subjects who were experienced ongoing sleep issues demonstrated an increase in blood pressure.
David Sbarra, a professor of psychology at the university who co-authored the study, said sleep problems immediately after a divorce or separation were a “pretty normal” part of the process which most people “can typically cope with well”.
However, he added that when these issues persist people can become susceptible to health problems. He said difficulty sleeping could be indicative of a person “potentially becoming depressed” and “struggling with getting their life going again”.
Kendra Krietsh, one of Sbarra’s former students and lead author of the study, said it was imperative that people going through a divorce who have trouble sleeping should seek help “or it could lead to problems”.
The study is set to be published in an upcoming issue of the Health Psychology journal.