Ways to Lower Diastolic Blood Pressure

If your diastolic blood pressure is too high, you may be able to lower it, including through medications, dietary changes, cutting out harmful substances, exercising, and getting enough sleep.

Diastolic blood pressure (the lower number) is the force exerted on your blood vessels between heartbeats. The upper number, systolic blood pressure, measures the force exerted during a heartbeat.

Hypertension (abnormally high blood pressure) typically involves elevations in both systolic and diastolic blood pressures. However, some people have "isolated" diastolic hypertension, for which the systolic pressure is relatively normal while the diastolic pressure is elevated.

This article looks at how to lower your diastolic blood pressure, why this number is important, and how to check at home.

A healthcare provider checking a woman's blood pressure

Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / Getty Images

Systolic readings are generally considered more important in hypertension (high blood pressure). But researchers are learning more about the diastolic number and its link to heart attacks and strokes.

How to Lower Diastolic Blood Pressure Overnight

You may be able to lower your blood pressure over several hours, such as overnight.

Reduce or Avoid Caffeine

Caffeine typically doesn't contribute to high blood pressure. However, it does temporarily because caffeine causes blood vessels to narrow. Limit your caffeine intake, especially if you have high blood pressure. It's recommended to consume no more than 300 milligrams daily.

Avoid Sodium, Sugar, and Processed Foods

Focusing on a heart-healthy diet can help lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of high blood pressure. Limit saturated and trans fats, red meat, sodium, sugar, and processed foods. Instead, focus on heart-healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, skinless poultry, fish, and nuts. Be sure to check food labels to know your sodium intake, too.

Get a Good Night's Sleep

Regular sleep naturally reduces blood pressure, so a good night's sleep is important. Sleep disorders, or if you are up throughout the night, mean your blood pressure is higher for longer.

Try Low-Impact Exercise

One study found that exercise may lower blood pressure by five to eight points. Research also found adding aerobic exercise and weight training into your routine can lower blood pressure, especially for men. Try walking, biking, or water aerobics.

Low Blood Pressure Warning

Saunas, or being in hot water, can be dangerous for people with low blood pressure. Be sure to ask your healthcare provider about activities that may not be safe for you.

How to Naturally Lower Diastolic Blood Pressure

You can use natural methods and lifestyle changes to lower diastolic blood pressure. They can also work alongside medication.

Change Your Diet and Exercise

Eat less sodium (salt), fat, sugar, and processed foods. Choose heart-healthy foods and read food labels. A low-sugar, low-carb diet also helps you maintain a healthy weight. About 30 minutes of low-impact exercise can also bring down blood pressure.

Eliminate Unhealthy Habits

Like caffeine, smoking may reduce your blood pressure, but it's only for the short term. Quitting smoking reduces your risk of heart diseases, such as heart attack and stroke.

One study found limiting or eliminating alcohol consumption can reduce systolic blood pressure, while excess alcohol raises it.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

High weight or obesity increases your risk of hypertension. Losing up to 10 pounds can help lower your blood pressure.

Manage Stress

Stress increases blood pressure, and relaxation lowers it. Reducing stress levels or finding stress-relieving activities (sitting quietly, meditating, exercising, or reading) can help.

What Medications Lower Diastolic Blood Pressure?

Common medications lower diastolic blood pressure (and systolic blood pressure, as well).


Diuretics (water pills) reduce fluid in your blood vessels, which lowers blood pressure. Examples include:


Make the heart beat more slowly and with less force. Some beta-blocker medication includes:

Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors

ACE inhibitors relax blood vessels by lowering the production of the angiotensin II enzyme. Examples include:

Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARBs)

ARBs relax blood vessels by blocking the activity of the angiotensin II enzyme. Medications include:

Calcium Channel Blockers

Calcium channel blockers relax blood vessels by lowering the rate of calcium entering blood-vessel walls. Some examples include:

Combination blood-pressure medications may include drugs from different classes.

Complications of Untreated Diastolic Blood Pressure

Untreated high diastolic blood pressure, as with overall high blood pressure, can lead to serious and sometimes life-threatening complications, such as:

Should You Worry if Your Diastolic Is High?

An occasional high diastolic reading likely isn’t a cause for concern. Still, let your healthcare provider know if you’ve had one or more elevated readings at home or with a different provider.

To avoid complications, you need to treat consistently high diastolic readings. Monitor your blood pressure for changes, especially if you’ve had high readings or have been diagnosed with hypertension.

Can Diastolic Blood Pressure Be Too Low?

Historically, when treating hypertension, healthcare providers focus on keeping the diastolic number between 70 mmHg and 90 mmHg. The concern was that a significantly low diastolic reading could increase the risk of a heart attack.

However, researchers found that lowering the diastolic number well below that level (even to 50 mmHg) did not increase the heart attack risk. The study also found no lower limit on what should be considered a regular diastolic reading. This could mean healthcare providers have undertreated people with hypertension.

How Long Does It Take to Get Diastolic Blood Pressure Down?

Deep breathing, a hot bath, and relaxation techniques may lower your diastolic blood pressure in a few hours. Exercise, quality sleep, and a healthy diet may give you results overnight or in a few days. Lifestyle changes and medications may take a few weeks to take effect.

How to Check Blood Pressure At Home

It’s a good idea to regularly check your blood pressure at home, especially if you have hypertension, a recent high reading, or a family history of high blood pressure or heart disease.

You can buy a blood pressure cuff at a drug store or online. When you have a cuff, you need to know how to prepare for testing your blood pressure:

  • Don’t exercise, smoke, or drink a caffeinated beverage for half an hour before your test.
  • Empty your bladder and sit quietly for five minutes before checking.
  • Remove any clothing that covers the area where you’ll place the cuff.
  • Sit upright in a firm chair and place your feet flat on the floor, legs uncrossed.
  • Put your arm on a table or other flat surface, with your upper arm at heart level.
  • Check the manufacturer’s instructions for placement and how to get an accurate reading.

Be sure to check at the same time(s) every day because blood pressure has natural fluctuations. Take two or three readings one minute apart and record the results.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

Anyone can have a high blood pressure reading from time to time. However, extremely high blood pressure can signal a significant health crisis.

When checking blood pressure at home, make an appointment with your healthcare provider if you have consistent readings that are slightly or moderately high. Contact your healthcare provider or seek emergency medical care immediately if you're experiencing:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Back pain
  • Numbness or weakness
  • Changes in vision
  • Difficulty speaking

Do not wait to see if your blood pressure comes down. Delaying treatment could have life-threatening consequences.


Diastolic blood pressure is the bottom number. It measures the force exerted on your blood vessels in between heartbeats. Diastolic pressure can't change without the systolic pressure (the top number) also changing. You can lower your blood pressure in the short term through relaxation, quality sleep, and avoiding caffeine and processed foods. Long-term treatments include dietary changes, exercise, and medication. It's important to check your blood pressure at home, especially if you have a family history of hypertension or heart disease.

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Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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Additional Reading

By Adrienne Dellwo
Adrienne Dellwo is an experienced journalist who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and has written extensively on the topic.