Does blood pressure have a daily pattern? I've noticed that my blood pressure is always lower in the morning than at night.

Answers from Sheldon G. Sheps, M.D.

Blood pressure has a daily pattern. Blood pressure is normally lower at night while you're sleeping. Your blood pressure starts to rise a few hours before you wake up. Your blood pressure continues to rise during the day, usually peaking in the middle of the afternoon. Then in the late afternoon and evening, your blood pressure begins dropping again.

Having an abnormal blood pressure pattern, such as high blood pressure in the morning, can mean that you have a health problem. Potential problems include:

  • Poorly controlled high blood pressure
  • Sleep apnea
  • Tumors of the adrenal gland
  • Kidney disease

Risk factors for developing an abnormal blood pressure pattern include:

  • Night-shift work
  • Caffeine use
  • Tobacco use
  • Too much stress
  • Taking blood pressure medications that don't last 24 hours

Your doctor can tell you if an abnormal daily blood pressure pattern may need treatment. He or she may recommend a 24-hour blood pressure monitoring test. The device used for this test measures your blood pressure at regular intervals over a 24-hour period and provides a more accurate picture of blood pressure changes over a typical day and night.

Jun. 13, 2012 See more Expert Answers