High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a common condition that can have serious health implications if left untreated.
The key to managing and controlling high blood pressure is understanding what medications are available, and when it is the best time to take them.
In this article, we’ll explore the different types of blood pressure medication and when it’s best to take them.
Table of Contents
- How Do Blood Pressure Medications Work?
- When Is Blood Pressure at Its Highest?
- Why Does the Time of Day Matter for Taking Blood Pressure Medications?
- What Is the Best Time to Take Blood Pressure Medication?
- What Are the Main Side Effects of Taking Blood Pressure Medications?
- Final Thoughts
How Do Blood Pressure Medications Work?
Blood pressure medication plays a vitally important role in the management of hypertension, a serious disorder that can increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.
There are 11 different classes of drugs available for treating high blood pressure, each of which works differently to lower the overall pressure in the blood vessels and reduce the amount of work that the heart must do in its pumping action.
The most common type of medication is diuretics, which help flush out excess fluid and sodium from the body. This reduces blood volume, thereby lowering the pressure within the vessels.
Other medications act directly on the heart to slow down its beating rate, as well as reduce how hard it has to work overall in order to effectively pump oxygen-rich blood throughout the body.
When Is Blood Pressure at Its Highest?
Blood pressure is an important indicator of health, as it reflects the degree of force with which blood is pumped throughout the body.
The normal range for a healthy adult is 120/80mmHg or lower, and any higher than this can be indicative of hypertension (high blood pressure).
High blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure if unmanaged. As such, it is important to understand when your blood pressure is at its highest point during the day.
Typically speaking, when you wake up in the morning, your blood pressure will surge before stabilizing throughout the day.
However, during sleep at night, the trend usually reverses, and your blood pressure drops back down again after a long day of being exposed to inflammation-causing factors like stress, lack of physical activity, high salt diets, etc.
Why Does the Time of Day Matter for Taking Blood Pressure Medications?
The importance of the time of day when taking blood pressure medication cannot be overstated.
Taking such medications in the morning has been proven beneficial to control high blood pressure, but research enabled by 24-hour blood pressure monitoring suggests that nighttime dosing may even provide better antihypertensive effects.
Those with constant high blood pressure throughout the day are known to generally experience worse cardiovascular events than those whose blood pressure dips off during the night. Therefore, it is vital to determine whether nighttime or morning treatment is more successful for managing hypertension.
A recent study by the British Heart Foundation sought to answer this question by randomly dividing participants into two groups; one group took their tablets at night, while another took them in the morning.
The results will help inform physicians on which time schedule would be most beneficial in preventing heart attacks, strokes, and deaths related to circulatory diseases.
The results found that all participants had the same benefits of the medication, whether they took it in the morning or at night.
What Is the Best Time to Take Blood Pressure Medication?
The practice of taking blood pressure medications at night, rather than in the morning, has been gaining traction as new studies have highlighted its potential benefits.
Taking blood pressure drugs before bed could lower a person’s risk of developing serious heart-related complications more effectively than if the medication is administered in the morning. This lends credibility to the concept of “chronotherapy” or timing medication doses to specific periods throughout the day.
Chronotherapy can be beneficial for those taking medications for other indications as well. As such, it may be beneficial for people with high blood pressure to consider shifting their dose time towards nighttime or ask their doctor whether this approach is right for them.
What Are the Benefits of Taking Your Medication at Night?
A study conducted by Medicine studied over 19,000 individuals over six years with high blood pressure.
This clinical trial revealed that taking certain blood pressure medications at night rather than in the morning could be more effective for controlling symptoms and reducing risks associated with this condition.
Researchers found that, when taken at night, these types of medications had better results in terms of lowering both systolic and diastolic blood pressures.
In addition to providing greater control over hypertension symptoms, a major advantage to medicating at night is that it simplifies the process for many who take multiple medications during the day.
This can end up eliminating the need for early morning alarms or dependence on memory aids to prompt dosage dosing times. Furthermore, by taking medication at bedtime, patients often have more energy during their daily tasks.
What Are the Main Side Effects of Taking Blood Pressure Medications?
Blood pressure medicines are generally effective and well tolerated, but they can cause side effects in some people. Common side effects of these medicines include:
- Swelling in the legs or feet,
- Stomach problems.
It’s important to talk with your doctor about any medications or supplements you’re taking before you start any new medication for blood pressure.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Is Blood Pressure Measured?
High blood pressure is a serious but common medical condition, and it’s usually diagnosed through the well-known blood pressure test.
The test involves wrapping an inflatable cuff around the upper arm and then inflating it with air to detect the amount of force that the arteries are under when your heart beats. During the reading, two numbers will appear on a monitor or digital display.
When it comes to taking blood pressure medication, every patient’s needs are different.
Chronotherapy – or timing the administration of medications to fit a person’s individual circadian rhythm – may be beneficial for those with hypertension, as certain types of medication may produce better results when taken at night.
However, chronotherapeutic approaches should only be considered under careful medical supervision.
- Zhang, Peng MDa; Jin, Mei-Ying MDb; Song, Xu-Yu MDa; Wang, Zhao MDc; Jiang, Yue-Hua MDd; Yang, Chuan-Hua PhDd,∗. Comparison of the antihypertensive efficacy of morning and bedtime dosing on reducing morning blood pressure surge: A protocol for systemic review and meta-analysis. Medicine 100(5):p e24127, February 05, 2021. | DOI: https://www.doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000024127
- Does the time you take your medicine matter? Heart Matters. Available from: https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/research/timing-of-medications