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Why does sleep matter to your heart?

Food and exercise may come to mind when considering ways to improve heart health. Sleep is equally important, even though many people view it as a luxury rather than a necessity.


Maintaining your sleep health is crucial for your general well-being, much as we stress the need to eat a low-fat diet to lower cholesterol and preserve heart health.


A sign of heart health is getting a full seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Although the precise mechanism by which sleep affects the coronary arteries is still being investigated, we do know that having insufficient sleep is linked to heart disease risk factors.


Sleep-Heart Health Link


People who experience typical sleeping problems like obstructive sleep apnea or insomnia are also far more likely than the general population to experience heart arrhythmias, plaque buildup, heart failure, and coronary artery disease.


Sleep apnea occurs when your airway frequently becomes clogged while you're sleeping, causing you to briefly cease breathing. Some medical conditions, such as obesity and heart disease, might contribute to sleep apnea.


Insomnia is used to describe problems getting to sleep, remaining asleep, or both. Adults may develop short-term insomnia up to 1 in 2 times and long-term insomnia up to 1 in 10 times. 8 Heart disease and excessive blood pressure are connected to insomnia. Insufficient sleep over time can also result in bad habits that are bad for your heart, such as higher stress levels, less drive to exercise, and unhealthy eating choices.


There is growing evidence that neurological sleep problems, including restless leg syndrome, may raise the risk of heart disease, however, additional studies are required to fully understand the relationship.


Sleep lowers blood pressure in the majority of people. However, those who have Type 1 narcolepsy don't always experience that. There has to be more research in this area, however, some people think that this may raise the chance of cardiac issues.


How can I get enough sleep?


  • Beds should only be used for sleeping and having sex. That means you shouldn't stay in bed awake for an extended period. In bed watching TV or engaging in other activities also counts. Get out of bed and try again later if you have trouble falling asleep. Tossing and turning when in bed is the biggest risk factor for developing chronic insomnia. Spend some time outside before attempting to fall asleep once more.


  • Get nice bright light in the morning and stay away from bright light at night. Encouraging a strong "daytime" signal in the morning and a strong "nighttime" signal at night, this aids in the promotion of a healthy circadian rhythm.


  • Maintain a consistent sleep routine. Regularity can aid in fostering restful sleep. Your body understands when to feel hungry, just like what happens if you eat lunch at the same time every day. Regular bedtimes aid in maintaining a regular sleep pattern.


  • Make sure you have adequate natural light, especially in the morning. Consider taking a walk in the morning or at lunch.


  • Get adequate exercise throughout the day. Try to avoid working out right before going to bed.


These suggestions and other aspects of good sleep hygiene can lay the groundwork for better sleep by forming routines that make it simpler to acquire the necessary amount and quality of sleep.


DR. Alkesh Jain
Cardiac Care
Meet The Doctor
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