Can You Take Your Blood Pressure When Lying Down?

Blood pressure refers to the force of blood against the walls of our arteries as our heart pumps it through our bodies, and it’s measured in two different ways: diastolic (the lower number) and systolic (the higher number). Normal readings range from between 60-130 mmHg/90-140 mmHg, but doctors will often use values below 120/80 as signs of good health.

What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. When your heart beats, it pumps blood through your arteries to the rest of your body. Your blood pressure reading is a measure of how much force your blood is exerting against your artery walls. The higher your blood pressure, the harder your heart has to work to pump blood through your body.

Systolic blood pressure

Systolic blood pressure is the top number in a blood pressure reading. It measures the force your heart exerts on your arteries as it pumps blood through your body. When you have your blood pressure taken, you're usually asked to sit with your back straight and supported, and your feet flat on the floor.

Diastolic blood pressure

The diastolic blood pressure, or the bottom number, is the pressure in your arteries when your heart relaxes between beats. This is the time when your heart fills with blood and gets oxygen. Normal diastolic blood pressure is lower than 80. If your diastolic blood pressure is higher than 80, it's called high blood pressure. High blood pressure can damage your heart and lead to problems like heart disease and stroke. You can have high blood pressure for years without knowing it. That's why it's important to get your blood pressure checked regularly.

Understanding blood pressure readings

When it comes to taking your blood pressure, there are a few things to keep in mind. For one, you should always be sitting up straight with your feet on the ground. This ensures that you're getting an accurate reading. That said, can you take your blood pressure while lying down? The answer is yes, but there are a few things to keep in mind. First, when you're lying down, your blood pressure reading will be lower than if you were sitting or standing. Second, it's important to remain still while taking your blood pressure. Any movement can lead to an inaccurate reading. Finally, if you're taking blood pressure medication, be sure to wait at least 30 minutes after taking it before checking your blood pressure again.

Categories of blood pressure

The two main categories of blood pressure are systolic and diastolic. Systolic is the top number and diastolic is the bottom number. The normal range for systolic is less than 120 and the normal range for diastolic is less than 80. If your systolic blood pressure is greater than 120 or your diastolic blood pressure is greater than 80, you have high blood pressure.

Measuring blood pressure at home

Home blood pressure monitoring is an important way to track your health. It can be done with a digital or manual monitor. When you measure your blood pressure, you should sit in a chair with your feet on the floor and your arm at heart level. You should also rest for five minutes before taking your reading.

Best position to take blood pressure

The best position to take your blood pressure is sitting up with your back straight and feet flat on the floor. You should also avoid eating, smoking, or exercising for 30 minutes before taking your blood pressure. When you're ready to take your blood pressure, wait a few minutes to calm down before starting. Once you're relaxed, wrap the cuff around your upper arm so that the bottom of the cuff is level with your heart. Then, squeeze the bulb to inflate the cuff and wait until you hear a noise from the stethoscope. Finally, release the valve on the bulb and wait for your blood pressure reading.

Effect of different body positions on blood pressure

The effect of different body positions on blood pressure readings is an interesting topic. When we are lying down, our blood pressure is usually lower than when we are standing up. This is because when we lie down, gravity pulls the blood in our veins back towards our hearts and lungs. This makes it easier for the heart to pump blood around our body. However, blood pressure readings can vary depending on which part of the body is higher or lower than the heart. For example, if you take your blood pressure reading while lying on your back, your reading will be lower than if you took it while sitting up. This is because when you lie on your back, your head is higher than your heart, so gravity pulls the blood in your veins away from your head and towards your feet.

Can you measure your blood pressure when lying down (supine position)?

It is possible to measure your blood pressure when you are in the supine position. When you are lying down, your heart is at the same level as your eyes. This position is ideal for taking a blood pressure reading because it gives the most accurate results. The reason why this position is so accurate is that there is less difference between the level of your heart and the level of your arm when you are lying down, as opposed to when you are sitting up or standing. This means that there is less chance of error when taking a reading in the supine position.

Procedure for measuring blood pressure when lying down

The process for measuring blood pressure when lying down is relatively simple. First, the person being tested should lie on their back with their legs uncrossed and their head supported by a pillow. Next, the tester should place the cuff of the blood pressure monitor around the person's upper arm, making sure that the cuff is level with the person's heart. Once the cuff is in place, the tester should inflate it until it cuts off the circulation in the person's arm. At this point, the tester should then use the stethoscope to listen for a pulse in the person's wrist while slowly releasing the air from the cuff.

Does your blood pressure change when lying down?

Lying down can actually cause your blood pressure to drop. When you lie down, your heart doesn't have to work as hard to pump blood through your body. This can result to a reduction in blood pressure. If you're feeling dizzy or lightheaded when you stand up, it could be due to a drop in blood pressure.

Tips to get accurate blood pressure readings

It's important to get accurate blood pressure readings for two reasons: to find out if you have high blood pressure and to monitor your blood pressure if you're already being treated for hypertension. Here are a few tips to help ensure accurate readings: 

1. Don't smoke or drink caffeine before your reading. 

2. Sit still and quietly for at least five minutes before measuring your blood pressure. 

3. Use a good quality, well-fitting cuff. 

4. Rest your arm on a table so that the cuff is level with your heart. 

5. Take the reading at the same time each day and in the same position (sitting, standing, or lying down). 

6. Avoid talking during the reading.

Tips to manage your blood pressure (Brief)

If you have high blood pressure, there are things you can do to help manage it. Try not to smoke or drink alcohol and eat a healthy diet rich in fruit and vegetables. Exercise for at least 30 minutes every day and lose weight if you need to.

You should also make sure that your salt intake is less than 6g per day as well as maintain an adequate fluid intake of 8 glasses of water or more a day which will dilute the concentration of sodium in your blood. If necessary, speak with your doctor about taking medication too.


Lying down to take your blood pressure can be tricky. If you have a severe heart condition, it is not recommended by the  American Heart Association. While some people might say they feel better when they're lying down, that's not always the case. In particular, if you're pregnant, you should avoid taking your blood pressure while lying down. The bottom line is that if you're not sure whether or not you should lie down to take your blood pressure, talk to your doctor.


  1. Blood Pressure Lying Down: Does It Change, and How? Healthline [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2023 May 31]. Available from:
  2. Eşer I, Khorshid L, Güneş UY, Demir Y. The effect of different body positions on blood pressure. J Clin Nurs. 2007; 16(1):137–40.
  3. Ltd HP. Does Blood Pressure Lower When You Lie Down? HealthMatch [Internet]. 2022 [cited 2023 May 31]. Available from:
  4. Tips to measure your blood pressure correctly. Harvard Health [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2023 May 31]. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Akwaowo Akpan

RN, Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse, School of Nursing, Ikot Ekpene

I am Akwaowo Akpan, a registered and licensed nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria.
I have as practiced in the clinical, occupational and public health settings hence has gathered broad knowledge on provision of nursing care to people in different environment.
I also founded a sexual and reproductive health education brand called Gig Nurse where I use to reorientate people on sexual and reproductive health and demystify issues on sexual health.
Nurse Finalist Academy is my brain child founded on the premise of helping nursing students all over Nigeria prepare for their Nursing licensing examination and we have been able to help over 250 students in 3 years with a pass rate of over 95%.

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