The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta advises adults between 18 and 65 to aim for at least seven hours of good-quality sleep per night. However, more than 1 in 3 American adults say they don't get this sleep. Where does it lead to?
During sleep, the body repairs itself and recharges for the upcoming day. This process is crucial for maintaining physical and mental health. Otherwise, the lack of sleep may lead to different health problems, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Regarding the heart, sleep is essential in lowering stress levels and blood pressure. Chronic poor sleep has been linked to an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and other cardiovascular problems. One study shows that with 7 hours of sleep, each 1-hour decrease was associated with a 6% increased risk of all-cause mortality and heart disease.
Two primary types of sleep disorders can interfere with our ability to get a good night's sleep: sleep apnea and insomnia.
• Sleep apnea is a common condition in which your breathing stops and restarts many times while you sleep. This can prevent your body from getting enough oxygen.
• Insomnia is a condition that makes it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep.
What are the reasons for getting more sleep?
Improve concentration and productivity
It's no secret that tiredness can affect your ability to focus and be productive at work or school. In fact, studies have shown that sleep deprivation can lead to lower grades, decreased productivity, and even job loss.
Support a healthy immune system
When you don't get enough sleep, your body's ability to fight off viruses and bacteria is weakened—meaning you're more likely to get sick. One research confirms that people who sleep fewer than 5 hours per night are 4.5 times more likely to develop a cold than those who sleep more than 7 hours.
Maintain or lose weight
Sleep and weight are closely linked—studies have shown that people who don't get enough sleep are more likely to gain weight and have a higher body mass index (BMI). It is also closely linked to hormones, increasing ghrelin levels (a hormone that makes us feel hungry) and decreasing leptin (a hormone that makes us feel full).
Keep your heart healthy
Sleep deprivation impairs the function of the autonomic nervous system, which regulates many of the body's vital functions, including heart rate and HRV. When you sleep, your body has a chance to rest and repair, your heart doesn't have to work as hard, and your blood pressure can stay at a healthy level. Also, sleep helps regulate hormones in controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Getting enough sleep helps to manage stress levels, which can also impact heart health. So if you want to keep your heart healthy, get enough shut-eye!
What Can You Do to Get Better Sleep?
If you're concerned about your sleep habits, there are steps you can take to improve the quality of your sleep.
- First, avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime. Caffeine and alcohol can interfere with your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Establish a regular sleep schedule and stick to it as much as possible. Going to bed and waking up simultaneously each day will help train your body to fall asleep more easily.
- Thirdly, create a relaxing bedtime routine and make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and comfortable. These simple tips can improve your chances of getting a good night's sleep.
- Finally, monitor your heart health, stress, tension, and energy levels with Heartify!
Sleep is crucial for overall health, including your heart's health. If you're not getting enough shut-eye, you're putting yourself at risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Follow simple steps to get the restful sleep your heart needs to stay healthy and strong.