London - Going to bed an hour early could ward off high blood pressure, a study suggests.

Researchers found those with early warning signs of the condition went back to healthy levels in just six weeks if they had an extra hour in bed every night.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects one in five adults in the UK and is thought to be responsible for half of all heart attacks and strokes.

Stress and lack of sleep have long been associated with increasing risk of the condition, but the latest study from Harvard Medical School in Boston is one of the first to prove that high blood pressure can be brought under control by sleeping more.

Researchers monitored 22 middle-aged men and women, all of whom typically got seven hours of sleep or less each night. Of the group, 13 were asked to go to bed an hour early, while the rest stuck to their normal routines.

The participants that went to bed earlier saw their blood pressure readings drop sharply.

The findings are published in the Journal of Sleep Research. - Daily Mail