How to Lower Blood Pressure Overnight

Three Methods:Making Fast-Acting Changes in Your LifestyleImproving Your Diet Immediately with DASHGetting Help from a Doctor

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a serious medical condition which can’t be fixed overnight. If you do have high blood pressure, there are some lifestyle and dietary changes that you can make to begin lowering your blood pressure right away. You should also get regular screenings at least every two years to discuss whether you might also need medications.[1][2]

Method 1
Making Fast-Acting Changes in Your Lifestyle

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    Begin exercising right away. Exercise is an excellent way to control high blood pressure. It will help you lose weight, reduce stress, and feel good. Talk to your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine to make sure you are healthy enough. If your doctor gives you the ok, these are common recommendations:[3]
    • 75—150 minutes of endurance activity per week. You will enjoy it more if you chose activities that like to do. Many people join community sports teams, take classes at a local gym, or simply go outside and walk, run, or bike. Don't jump right into intense exercise if you've been sedentary. Rather, ease into a new routine.
    • Exercise routines are most effective when they are also paired with strength training like weight lifting. This will help you to keep your bones strong and your muscles sculpted.
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    Start relaxing right away. Stress increases your blood pressure; if you are experiencing a temporary elevation in blood pressure because of stress, this is one instance in which you might be able to decrease it almost "overnight." Relaxation techniques may help you to keep things in perspective and reduce the physical toll stress takes on your body. Things to try include:[4]
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    Quit smoking or using tobacco. Tobacco hardens and narrows your arteries, which increases your blood pressure. This is true for both smokers and people who are exposed to secondhand smoke. Quitting will improve your health immediately. If you need help quitting you can:[5][6]
    • Get support from friends, family, a counselor, a support group, or hotlines
    • Talk to your doctor about trying medications or nicotine replacement therapy
    • There are state programs that help people with smoking cessation. Look into state resources to see what is available in your state
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    Drink less alcohol. Alcohol is high in calories, making you vulnerable to obesity and increasing your risk of high blood pressure. If you do drink, stay within the recommended limits.[7]
    • Men should drink no more than one to two drinks per day. Women should have at most one drink per day.
    • A glass of wine, beer or shot of hard alcohol is a drink.
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    Evaluate the drugs you take. This includes both street drugs and medications. Street drugs can also increase your blood pressure. Some medications can also contribute to hypertension. If you think this might be the case for you, don’t stop taking your medications. Instead contact your doctor to discuss the problem. Your doctor may be able to recommend a different medication that will work better for you. Some substances and medications that can contribute to high blood pressure include:[8]
    • Amphetamines, cocaine, and crystal methamphetamine
    • Some decongestants and cold medications
    • Some nonprescription painkillers (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs, like ibuprofen, Celebrex, Naproxen sodium, etc.)
    • Some birth control pills

Method 2
Improving Your Diet Immediately with DASH

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    Reduce your fat and sugar intake immediately. This will help you to control your weight and lower your risk of heart disease. Eat no more than three tablespoons of fat per day and five sweets per week. Easy ways to quickly cut fat and sugar include:[9]
    • Substituting fruits for dessert rather than the more traditional, fatty and sugary foods like pastries, cookies, cakes, puddings, and candies.
    • Eat dry sandwiches rather than adding mayonnaise or butter.
    • Reduce the amount of oil and butter you cook with. Avoid lard, solid shortenings, coconut oil and palm oil.
    • Do make sure ensure you are eating the proper amount of recommended "good" fats, like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are found in foods like olive oil and avocado.
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    Reduce your salt consumption right away. Eating too much salt can contribute to high blood pressure. The DASH diet, which is stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, permits only 2,300 mg of salt each day. Ways to cut salt include:[10]
    • Cutting down on prepackaged, processed snacks. These often have a lot of salt added for flavoring. Look at the packaging to see how much salt they contain. Foods like salted pretzels, chips, and salted nuts are better avoided all together.
    • Check the labels on canned foods. Many vegetables are canned in salt water. You can reduce your salt intake by purchasing only frozen or fresh vegetables. If it must be canned, the look for veggies in unsalted water.
    • Reduce the amount of salt you cook with. At first you may miss the salt, but then your palate will adjust and you will enjoy the foods’ natural flavors.
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    Increase the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat. This is a great way to quickly improve your diet. The DASH diet recommends four to five servings of fruit and four to five servings of vegetables. A serving size is a half a cup. Because fruits and vegetables are great sources of potassium and magnesium, they will start to control your blood pressure right away. Add more fruits and vegetables in your diet by:[11]
    • Snacking on fruits and vegetables between meals. A fresh apple, pear, carrot, or green pepper is neat and easy to pack with you on a busy day.
    • Buy frozen vegetables. Frozen vegetables make it convenient to eat tasty, nutritious vegetables year round. They are also very easy to thaw and add as a side dish to a meal.
    • Top off your meals with a salad. This is a great way to add diverse fruits and vegetables. You can go for hearty salads with carrots, tomatoes, peppers, and lettuce or get creative with sweet notes from orange or apple slices. Monitor your use of salad dressings. They are often salty and fatty.
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    Switch immediately to eating whole grain carbohydrates. The DASH diet recommends six to eight servings of grains daily. Whole grains contain more nutrients and fiber than processed white flour. This means that you will get more nutrition per serving and feel less hungry. A slice of bread or half cup of cooked pasta qualifies as a serving. Ways to up your intake of whole grains include:[12]
    • Baking with whole wheat flour instead of white.
    • Purchasing whole wheat pasta instead of white.
    • Eating brown rice instead of white.
    • Reading the packaging on breads to see if they say they are made from whole wheat.
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    Control your meat consumption. Lean meats like poultry and fish are best, but don’t overdo it. Meats and fish are excellent sources of iron, zinc, protein, and vitamins. However, because they also have high amounts of fat and cholesterol, they will contribute to clogging your arteries. Reduce your meat and fish intake to six ounces per day.[13]
    • Cook meat in low fat ways. Instead of frying, try baking, grilling, or roasting.
    • Red meats are often particularly high in fat. If you do eat red meat, trim off any fat you see around the edges.
    • Salmon, herring and tuna are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which will help control your cholesterol. Try to eat fish once or twice per week.
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    Evaluate your dairy products. Dairy is rich in calcium and vitamin D, but it is best to eat low fat dairy rather than whole milk sources. This lowers the amount of fat you get with it. Two to three cups of low fat dairy per day should be sufficient.[14]
    • Milk, cheese, and yogurt products will generally tell you on the packaging what percentage of fat they have. Low fat or skim products have much less fat than whole milk products.
    • Start your day with a healthy breakfast of whole-grain cereals with low fat or skim milk or yogurt.

Method 3
Getting Help from a Doctor

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    Make a doctor’s appointment if you show signs of high blood pressure. If you do have high blood pressure, it is important to consult your doctor to make a health plan to control it. Most people with high blood pressure don’t have symptoms, so it is best to get checked about every year or two. If you do experience symptoms, you may have:[15]
    • Frequent nosebleeds
    • Shortness of breath
    • Blurred vision or see double
    • Headaches that don’t go away
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    Discuss medications with your doctor. Your doctor may suggest that you take medications to reduce your blood pressure. Be sure to tell your doctor about all other prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, supplements, and herbal remedies that you take. Some blood pressure medications can interact with them. Frequently prescribed medications include:[16]
    • ACE inhibitors. These medications lower your blood pressure by causing your blood vessels to relax. Some people get a chronic cough as a side effect.
    • Calcium channel blockers. These medications cause your arteries to widen, reducing the pressure with which your blood flows. They may interact with grapefruit juice. Ask your doctor about side effects and interactions.
    • Diuretics. These medications cause you to urinate and lower the amount of salt in your body.
    • Beta-blockers. These medications cause your heart to beat slower and with less force. Usually the doctor will suggest other medications and lifestyle changes before putting you on beta-blockers.
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    Call an ambulance if you could be having a stroke or heart attack. High blood pressure increases your risks of both. If you are unsure if you could be experiencing one of these, you should call emergency medical responders immediately and let them determine what you need.
    • You could be having a stroke if you experience a drooping face, especially on only one side, suddenly have problems speaking or understanding, feel numbness or weakness in an arm, leg, or the face, have vision problems in one or both eyes, lose your coordination, are confused, feel dizzy, or have a horrible headache.[17]
    • You could be having a heart attack if you experience a squeezing feeling in your chest, chest pain, pain that travels to one or both arms, your neck, back, jaw, or abdomen, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, sweating, lightheadedness, or nausea. You do not have to experience all of the symptoms.
    • Women are less likely to experience chest pain during a heart attack.[18] Women have more vague symptoms like increased fatigue, nausea, reflux-like symptoms, or feelings of impending doom.


  • A comprehensive review of family history can help identify if a person has familial risk factors that may predispose them to hypertension.

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Categories: Cardiovascular Health and Blood Pressure