Sleep your way to heart health

You may already know how important a good night’s sleep is, but did you realize how vital it also is to your cardiovascular health?

Sleep is critical to your overall health. This time gives your body time to recharge and restore, and it’s recommended that adults get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. When you don’t get sufficient sleep, it can contribute to problems with blood pressure and heighten the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, diabetes, and stroke (Source: Sleep Foundation).

Heart disease and sleep disorders are often related, and doctors are paying close attention to signs and symptoms that show a relation between heart health and sleep issues.

Although many sleep conditions may contribute to poor sleep, there are two major conditions to look for: sleep apnea and insomnia.

Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder where you start and stop breathing throughout the night. Symptoms of this disorder include snoring and being tired even after a full night’s sleep. This is more common in men.

Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which people have a hard time falling asleep, cannot stay asleep, or wake up too early and are unable to fall back asleep. Common causes of insomnia include stress, poor sleep habits, mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety, or even other sleep disorders.

What are things you can do to get better sleep? In some cases you may need to seek help from a professional, but there are small habits you can implement to contribute to a better night’s sleep, including:

  • Develop a bedtime routine
  • Stay away from the screen (television or cell phone) within a few hours of bedtime
  • Get enough physical activity during the day
  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule

If you continue to have sleep issues, it may be time to talk to your healthcare professionals. They can make recommendations for testing to see if there are more serious, underlying issues at hand.

American Heart Association 
Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
Sleep Foundation