Visit‐to‐visit blood pressure (BP) variability (BPV) is an independent risk factor of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Sleep architecture characterizes the distribution of different stages of sleep and may be important in CVD development. We examined the association between visit‐to‐visit BPV and sleep architecture using in‐lab polysomnographic data from 3,565 patients referred to an academic sleep center. BPV was calculated using the intra‐individual coefficient of variation of BP measures collected 12 months before the sleep study. We conducted multiple linear regression analyses to assess the association of systolic and diastolic BPV with sleep architecture—rapid eye movement (REM) and non‐rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep duration.

Our results show that systolic BPV was inversely associated with REM sleep duration (p = .058). When patients were divided into tertile groups based on their BPV, those in the third tertile (highest variability) spent 2.7 fewer minutes in REM sleep than those in the first tertile (lowest variability, p = .032), after adjusting for covariates. We did not find an association of systolic BPV with other measures of sleep architecture. Diastolic BPV was not associated with sleep architecture either. In summary, our study showed that greater systolic BPV was associated with lower REM sleep duration. Future investigation is warranted to clarify the directionality, mechanism, and therapeutic implications.

Document Type


Publication Date


Notes/Citation Information

Published in Journal of Clinical Hypertension.

© 2021 The Authors

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Funding Information

This work was supported by Center for Engineering in Medicine Seed Grant Program at the University of Virginia.