Optimal Sleep Reduces Risk of Heart Disease
Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease 39% through optimal sleep. That is the conclusion of this study published in Sleep. What great news – simply improving your sleep can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease as much as, and in some cases, more than controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol with medication.
The two take home points are this. You need a regular sleep schedule and need to achieve sufficient sleep duration (more than seven hours per night).
The study followed 1.726 participants for an average of seven years. The participants wore activity monitors on their wrists, completed sleep questionnaires, and completed sleep studies.
It was found that those participants who had regular sleep schedules and sufficient sleep duration had a 39% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The study controlled for lifestyle, demographics, health status, and measures of sleep disorders.
The importance of quality sleep is being recognized more and more. The American Heart Association (AHA) in June of 2022 included sleep duration as an essential component of heart and brain health.
Healthier sleep pattens also manages other health factors as obesity, blood pressure, and risk of diabetes.
Causes of Poor Sleep
The following are some for the more common contributors to poor sleep.
- Personal habits
- Watching TV late at night
- Working on the computer late at night
- Late night socializing
- Shift work
- Deadlines at work that cause you to work late at night
- Excessive worrying prior to bedtime
- Alcohol consumption prior to bedtime
- Poor sleeping hygiene
- Caffeine or nicotine usage several hours prior to rest
How to Improve Your Sleep
See our article, Top 10 Healthy Sleep Habits to Put Into Practice. Those 10 habits include the following:
- Stick to a schedule – even on the weekends.
- Darken the room.
- Keep the room cool.
- Avoid naps after 5 PM and limit them to less than 30 minutes.
- Turn off or power down technology at least 30 minute before going to bed.
- Get a new mattress and box spring on regular basis. Use hypoallergenic bedding.
- Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine.
- Avoid heavy dinners or eat them at least 4 hours or more before going to bed.
- Exercise but try to avoid exercising at night if you have sleep difficulties.
- Drink enough water in the evening to prevent you from being thirsty during the night but not so much that you wake up to urinate.
Put these habits into practice and you should achieve optimal sleep and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic illnesses. If you struggle with sleep it is wise to consider a sleep study, many of which can now be done at home, to see if you might have sleep apnea which is more common than the general population recognizes.