The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education Resident Physician to Present Study

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Bad news for night owls: Sleeping less than seven hours a night could increase the risk of developing high blood pressure over time, according to a new study by an Internal Medicine resident physician at The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education.

The study found that sleeping less than seven hours increased the risk of developing high blood pressure by 7%, and sleeping less than five hours increased the risk by 11%. Dr. Aayushi Sood, a third-year Internal Medicine resident physician in Scranton, Pennsylvania, worked primarily with Dr. Kaveh Hosseini, a cardiologist in Iran, and Dr. Rahul Gupta, an interventional cardiology fellow in Allentown, Pennsylvania, along with doctors in England and the United States, on the study, which took about five months to complete. The research team will present the findings at the American College of Cardiology’s (ACC) 73rd Annual Scientific Session & Expo in Atlanta, Georgia, on April 6-8.

Using information from 16 studies conducted between January 2000 and May 2023, Dr. Sood and her fellow researchers evaluated hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, in more than 1 million people who were above the age of 18 years from six countries without any prior history of hypertension over a follow-up duration of 2.4 to 18 years. Several potential confounding factors could contribute to the link between less sleep and higher blood pressure, including lifestyle factors such as poor diet, physical inactivity, smoking, alcohol consumption, and psychological stressors. Those factors were not explicitly adjusted for in the study and could influence both sleep patterns and blood pressure, Dr. Sood said.

“So often, not getting enough sleep is something we take lightly,” Dr. Sood said. “It’s something you should talk to your doctor about because it can affect your health.”

Dr. Sood said more study is needed to understand the link between sleep and hypertension, and she is interested in pursuing further research.

“There are a lot of different theories attached to this research topic,” she said. “It could be that the lack of sleep is stimulating the sympathetic nervous system. If you do not sleep enough, your body could be stressed, which can also make your blood pressure go up.”

The native of Punjab, Northwest India, earned her medical degree from Washington University of Health & Science in San Pedro Town, Belize, in December 2019. After returning home to assist her parents, who are both physicians, in treating patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, she returned to the United States in July 2021 to begin her Internal Medicine Residency at The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

This isn’t the first time she’s worked with other doctors across the world on medical research.

“I believe that if you want to make a difference, you have to bring minds from all over the world together,” Dr. Sood said. “Everyone’s mind works differently, and each idea can bloom into something new.”

The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education is one of the nation’s largest HRSA-funded Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Safety-Net Consortiums, with about 250 physicians in training. The Wright Center offers ACGME-accredited residencies in family medicine, internal medicine, physical medicine & rehabilitation, and psychiatry, as well as fellowships in cardiovascular disease, gastroenterology, and geriatrics.

 For information about The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education, visit or call 570-866-3017.