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Ind Health. 2005 Jan;43(1):179-85.

Self-awakening prevents acute rise in blood pressure and heart rate at the time of awakening in elderly people.

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National Institute of Industrial Health, Kawasaki, Japan.


Self-awakening, waking up at a designated time decided before sleeping, could prevent failure in the blood circulation vessel system such as heart attack, acute increases in heart rate or blood pressure upon waking. Previous research showed that anticipatory changes occurred in heart rate prior to awakening from a short nap by means of self-awakening for young participants. However, the effects of self-awakening remained unclear for elderly people. The present study examined the effects of self-awakening on heart rate and blood pressure in a short afternoon nap (20 min) among the elderly. Nine participants [74.1 (SD = 5.01) years old] underwent both self-awakening and forced-awakening conditions. In the self-awakening condition, it was revealed that blood pressure gradually increased before the scheduled time of awakening, and that heart rate did not show a rapid increase at arousal. In contrast, forced-awakening induced acute increases in both heart rate and blood pressure. These results suggest that self-awakening facilitates a more smooth transition from sleep to wakefulness via autonomic activation before the time of self-awakening.

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