1. Ambulatory blood pressure recordings were made over a 48 h period on six hypertensive patients. The conditions of study were standardized, particularly with regard to physical activity, and during one period of each day the patients were randomly allocated to be active or inactive.

2. Results show that blood pressure was highest during physical activity and lowest during sleep. There was no significant difference between the arterial pressures measured during the same physical activities carried out at the same time each day. However, during the same time on consecutive days when activity was randomized, there was a significant difference between the pressure recordings during physical activity compared with those during inactivity. Heart rate changes showed a similar trend during the randomized period.

3. Physical activity and sleep have a profound effect on continuous arterial blood pressure recordings and these are independent of time alone. These observations should be taken into account when using this ambulatory system to assess hypotensive therapy.

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