Heart Health and Sleep: The Connection You Need to Know

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Restful nights and a healthy heart might sound like two unrelated goals, but in reality, the two rely heavily on one another. From organ function to reducing the risk of chronic diseases, there is a connection between heart health and your sleep that you need to know. Dive in to learn exactly how they’re connected and how you can keep your heart strong.

Our hearts beat regularly until the day we die, but did you know that your sleep patterns can play a large part in the health of your heart? You likely already know that a lack of sleep can be detrimental to your wellbeing, but do you know just how big of an impact it can have on your heart health? Here are a few of the ways that sleep affects your cardiovascular health:

  • Blood pressure – Research suggests that our bodies experience an increase in our resting blood pressure if we get insufficient sleep.
  • Energy level – This is closely linked to our blood pressure. Suffering from fatigue can make it harder for your body to self-regulate its blood pressure, leading to a higher risk of heart problems.
  • Cholesterol – sleep deprivation has been shown to lead to higher levels of low-density lipoprotein, known as “bad” cholesterol that can increase the risk for heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions.

It’s important to note that these risks increase over time if your sleep pattern is consistently poor. Your best bet is to work towards cultivating a regular sleep schedule that can help to protect your cardiovascular wellbeing. To do this, you should aim to get between 7-9 hours of sleep every night and try to limit the magnitude of your daily physical exertion.

Adopting better sleeping habits can help to prevent the many cardiovascular risks that arise from poor sleep. By understanding the surprising links between heart health and sleep, we can each work to achieve better cardiovascular health.

2. What Good Sleep Can Do for Your Heart

Getting a great night’s sleep provides far more benefits than merely feeling less tired the following day. Good sleep also has a significant impact on our long-term physical and mental health, including the heart.

For starters, adequate sleep helps reduce cholesterol and other cardiovascular risk factors, setting the stage for better overall heart health in the future. When we are tired, our bodies are more likely to produce the kinds of hormones and compounds that are associated with higher cholesterol levels. Furthermore, our bodies are programmed to want to consume more when we get too little rest, leading us to eat more foods that are harmful to our hearts.

Getting enough sleep, however, helps to reduce these risk factors, reducing the chances of suffering from heart disease in the future. Poor sleep has been linked to inflammation, an established risk factor for heart disease development. Also, studies suggest that good sleep supports healthy blood pressure levels, two powerful elements in maintaining a healthy heart.

Finally, good sleep reduces stress, an important factor in protecting yourself from heart disease. Stressful and anxious feelings are known to increase the risk of cardiovascular problems. On the other hand, adequate sleep aligns the body for better health and reduces emotions of stress, distraction, and anxiety.

3. How a Lack of Sleep Puts You at Risk

Audience: General.

If you don’t get enough sleep at night, you’re putting your physical and mental wellbeing at risk. Here’s a look at how sleep deprivation can affect your day-to-day life:

  • It decreases alertness and productivity. Your brain just can’t focus and maintain attention levels when you don’t get the required amount of sleep. This can affect your performance at work or school.
  • It has adverse effects on your immune system. Studies suggest that depriving your body of enough sleep increases the chances of getting sick.
  • It can cause memory problems. The longer you stay awake, the more difficult it becomes to recall things from recent or distant memories.

In the long run, lack of sleep can even harm your cardiovascular health, increase the risk of obesity, and worsen symptoms of depression. It’s also linked to a higher chance of suicidal thoughts and attempts.

The bottom line? You can’t afford to ignore the risks of sleep deprivation. Make sure you get the required amount of rest each night to keep your mind and body healthy and functional.

4. Making the Most of Your Z’s to Benefit Your Heart

Getting enough sleep can have multiple long-term benefits for your heart. A good night’s sleep can help reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and arrhythmia, and improve overall cardiovascular health.

Here are a few tips to help you get the sleep you need to benefit your heart:

  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol late in the day.
  • Create a restful bedroom; make sure it is dark, quiet, and comfortable.
  • Relax before bedtime. Have a bath, meditate, read a book, or listen to calming music.

Why Sleep Deprivation is Dangerous for the Heart?

The consequences of sleep deprivation can cause your blood pressure to increase, leading to long-term heart problems. Your body also produces more stress hormones during the day when you haven’t had enough sleep. This can lead to inflammation which can increase the risk of heart disease.

For your heart and overall health, make sure you get enough sleep each night. A few changes to your lifestyle and routine can help you make the most of your Z’s.

5. Steps You Can Take to Promote Better Heart Health and Sleep

Living with a healthy heart and getting regular, well-rested sleep is a vital part of maintaining our overall well-being. Here are five simple steps you can take to ensure optimal health in both.

1. Avoid Smoking – Smoking is thought to be one of the major contributors to cardiovascular disease and reduced oxygen intake, both of which can affect the quality of sleep. Therefore, we should strive to reduce or, ideally, quit smoking for healthier hearts and better sleep.

2. Get Regular Exercise – Regular physical activity can help to reduce levels of cholesterol, regulate blood pressure and maintain a healthy weight, contributing to a healthier heart. Additionally, regular exercise can help to reduce stress levels and improve the body’s overall production of melatonin, the chemical responsible for sleep.

3. Get Enough Sleep – We should strive for seven to nine hours of sleep a night to ensure our bodies and minds are getting the rest they need. Making sure to turn off all electronic screens at least an hour before bed and create a comfortable sleeping environment can also help to promote better sleep quality.

4. Eat a Balanced Diet – Eating a balanced diet of nutritious foods such as whole grains, lean meats, fruits and vegetables helps to create energy and also reduce levels of cholesterol and hypertension. These can have a major effect on our heart health and our sleep cycles.

5. Monitor Caffeine Consumption – While caffeinated beverages can provide some of that extra energy and motivation to get through the day, studies have proved that excessive consumption of caffeine can lead to sleeplessness and increased heart rate, so it is important to enjoy caffeine in moderation.

Good sleep is essential for healthy living, and overall heart health is no exception. The correlation between sleep and heart health, though still unclear, is undeniably an important one. Take care of your heart and make sure to prioritize an adequate amount of restful sleep in your daily routine. Your body will thank you for it!

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