A Spanish study conducted at the University of Vigo investigated if blood pressure remaining high during sleep is a predictor of type 2 diabetes.
2,012 people with high blood pressure were recruited for a randomised trial, their average age was 53. One group took their blood pressure medication in the morning, the second group took their medication before bed. None of the participants had diabetes at the beginning of the trial.
During an average follow-up period of six years, 171 participants developed type 2 diabetes. Those who took their medication at bedtime had significantly lower average blood pressure while asleep, and also had a heightened reduction in blood pressure.
In a second trial, the researchers observed that patients who medicated at night were 57 per cent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Risk factors such as fasting glucose and waist circumference were accounted for during the study.
The authors wrote: "In hypertensive patients without diabetes, ingestion of the entire daily dose of one or more blood pressure-lowering medications at bedtime compared with ingestion of all such medication upon awakening results in significantly improved sleeping blood pressure and prevention of new-onset diabetes."
While the findings have been acclaimed by worldwide researchers - University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) endocrinologist Matthew Freeby called them "compelling" - patients taking blood pressure medication should not alter the time of day they take drugs without first speaking to their doctor.
The results of this study were published in the online journal Diabetologia.