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What time should you take your blood pressure?

Last reviewed: 20 Jan 2022

Medically Reviewed By: Dr Jay Shah

Resource Hub / Monitoring blood pressure What time should you take your blood pressure?

A great way to monitor one’s health over time is to take regular blood pressure readings. The more accurate these readings are the better, which is why taking the readings at the same time each day is a good idea.

The right time to take blood pressure readings depends on your lifestyle and daily routine. In this guide, we will explore when to take blood pressure readings and general tips for taking them.

When should you take your blood pressure?

Blood pressure fluctuates continuously throughout the day and is usually at its highest during exercise. Resting blood pressure is likely to be at its lowest first thing in the morning. The best method to assess your overall blood pressure is to take multiple readings at different times of the day to get an average blood pressure level.

Choosing what time to take these readings depends on your daily routine. But to have an accurate range of your blood pressures, it is helpful to take readings at different times in the day.

What if I work irregular hours?

People who have irregular shift patterns will understandably find it difficult to take regular blood pressure readings.  Even just taking a single daily reading will help monitor your health.

Standard cuff blood pressures require a person to plan when they take their blood pressure.  There are, however, new blood pressure sensors which can be worn on the wrist and take automated and continual readings over 12 times a day, which can be particularly useful and convenient to increase the blood pressure data for you and your medical team.

For many people, the best times to take a reading are in the morning before work, in the evening after work and just before bed.

Factors that can affect your readings

Blood pressure can be affected temporarily by the following factors (amongst others) :

  • Eating food
  • Taking in caffeine
  • Smoking
  • Exercising
  • Drinking alcohol

It is always best to avoid engaging with any of these activities directly before taking a blood pressure reading. A good rule of thumb is to leave 30 minutes between doing any of the above and taking a blood pressure reading.

How do you measure blood pressure?

There are various ways to take a blood pressure reading. The traditional method is to use a sphygmomanometer; an inflatable arm cuff used to measure systolic and diastolic pressures. Technological developments have created more subtle blood pressure monitoring devices that can be worn throughout the day.

The general steps for taking a blood pressure reading are the following:

  1. Familiarise yourself with the device to ensure you follow the correct steps.
  2. Sit in a relaxed seated position
  3. Rest your arm on a flat surface such as a table and allow the device to take a reading
  4. Take another reading 3 minutes later
  5. Make a note of the readings

This manual process is effective but requires discipline to carry out on a daily basis. Blood pressure wrist monitors such as Aktiia’s can take automated readings throughout the day to provide numerous convenient and accurate readings. This is particularly useful when trying to gather data on nighttime blood pressure, as there is a substantial body of research have shown that nighttime blood pressure is more highly correlated to cardiovascular risk than standard daytime blood pressure measurements.

What is a healthy blood pressure reading?

The typical ranges of low, normal and high blood pressure are defined by the American College of Cardiology and the European Society of Hypertension (ESH) as:

ACC/AHA ESC/ESH
Definition of Hypertension (mm Hg) ≥ 130/80 ≥ 140/90
Normal Blood Pressure ranges (mm Hg)

Normal: < 120/80

Elevated: 120-129/<80

Optimal: < 120/80

Normal: 120-129/80-84

High normal: 130-139/85-89

Hypertension Stages (mm Hg)

Stage 1: 130-139/80-89

Stage 2: ≥ 140/90

Grade 1: 140-159/90-99

Grade 2: 160-179/100-109

Grade 3: ≥ 180/110

Age-Specific Blood Pressure targets (mm Hg) < 65 years: <130/80

≥ 65 years: <130/80

< 65 years < 120-129/70-79

≥ 65 years < 130-139/70-79

For more information on blood pressure readings, read our guide on blood pressure monitoring.

Summary

The most important aspect of blood pressure monitoring at home is to check your blood pressure routinely. For many people the best time to take a reading is first thing in the morning before breakfast and last thing before bed. It is important to avoid drinking, eating, smoking or exercising 30 minutes before taking a reading to ensure it is accurate. Readings have traditionally been conducted using an arm cuff, but modern blood pressure monitors such as Aktiia’s solution can passively and automatically take readings around the clock.

Aktiia Team Written by The Aktiia Team

Our mission is to help people live free from hypertension.

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