When Is the Best Time to Take Your Blood Pressure?

Getting an Accurate Blood Pressure Reading Depends on Factors Beyond Time of Day

A man checks his blood pressure at home.
Science Photo Library - IAN HOOTON/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

If you have high blood pressure, you may be wondering when the best time of day is to get it checked or to check it yourself. That actually depends on the reason you're checking it, whether you're doing it at home or in the doctor's office, your schedule, and what's most convenient for you.

Finding the Right Time to Check Your Blood Pressure

If you’re having your blood pressure checked regularly by a doctor, he or she will likely try to schedule the appointments at different times of the day.

Your doctor will do this purposely to get different readings from a number of situations.

These multiple readings are averaged together into one composite result, which is used to give a diagnosis according to standard blood pressure guidelines. Measuring blood pressure at different times gives a more accurate picture of the average, overall situation. It accounts for differences in activity level, stress, and hormone changes.

Checking at Home Versus at Your Doctor's Office

If you’re having your blood pressure checked to monitor the effectiveness of any blood pressure related treatments, your doctor may want to monitor you frequently to check your pressure or may ask you to buy a blood pressure monitor so that you can check your blood pressure on your own at home.

If you are monitoring from home, for consistent and effective results you'll want to choose a convenient time to consistently take readings.

Taking your blood pressure at home is different than taking it at your doctor's office because you’ll be comparing one relatively steady measurement to another over time.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Time

There are different factors you should keep in mind when deciding on the time of day to check your blood pressure.

They include:

  • Blood pressure changes throughout the day. Your blood pressure is typically at its lowest right after waking up and tends to vary by up to 30 percent throughout the day. This is a result of hormone changes, activity level, and eating.
  • Consistency matters. Measuring your blood pressure at the same time on different days should give ​about the same reading— excluding outside influences like exercise.
  • An inconsistent routine can throw your readings off. Besides exercise, eating large meals and taking your blood pressure standing rather than sitting can lead to a higher reading. To get the most accurate results, in addition to taking your blood pressure at the same time of day, try to have some consistency in your routine.
  • Pick a convenient time. When choosing a time to check your blood pressure, make sure it’s a time that works well with your schedule. Because the actual time of day isn’t as important as making sure you take the readings at that time, you should choose a time slot that is unlikely to be disrupted by work or other conflicts. For instance, if you work outside of your home, you may want to take your blood pressure before work or when you return.

How to Tell If Your Treatment Is Working

By taking consistent readings, it's easier to see if the treatment your doctor prescribed is working as directed.

Successful treatment programs should result in “same time” readings that tend to decrease.

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