In honor of keeping our hearts happy and healthy, let’s take a closer look at how sleep and cardiac health affect one another. Poor sleep has been linked to high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes and obesity. In turn, symptoms of heart disease, such as angina (chest pain) and sleep apnea (when breathing is briefly and repeatedly interrupted during sleep), can make it hard to get a good night’s sleep.
Your heart health is a literally a life and death matter. Sleep, the one thing that’s good for us that we actually enjoy, may be one of the most important keys to a longer, healthier life. We’ve dedicated this post to showing you just how heart health and sleep are related and simple things you can do to keep your heart healthy.
Although studying the link between sleep and heart health is relatively new, in 2011 the European Heart Journal reviewed 15 medical studies involving almost 475,000 people and found that short sleepers (6 hours or less each night) had a 48% increased risk of developing or dying from coronary heart disease in a 7 to 25-year follow-up period. Researchers caution though that the mechanisms behind shortened sleep and heart disease aren’t completely understood. “Lack of sleep doesn’t necessarily cause heart disease,” says Phyllis Zee, MD, PhD, professor of neurology and director of the Sleep Disorders Program at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “It really increases the risk factors for heart disease.” Read more at WebMD.com
The relationship between sleep apnea and heart disease is evolving quickly. Researchers now know certain symptoms of heart disease can impact how well you sleep. For example, angina can be so painful it wakes you up in the middle of the night and people with cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure, heart failure, and stroke have a high prevalence of sleep apnea. Read more at SleepFoundation.org
Although there’s still much to learn, there’s no doubting a link exists heart health and sleep. Sleep is just one of the many factors in keeping your heart healthy. Here are a few other ways to make sure your ticker keeps on ticking a little longer:
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